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Category: Development Economics

A Trip to Bridge International Academies

A Trip to Bridge International Academies

After one year living in Kenya, my time here is fast approaching its end.  In a few weeks, I finish work with Bridge International Academies.  I am heading to Southeast Asia for a few weeks of rest and relaxation before moving to San Francisco to help my brother launch a start-up for the summer.  After that, I am returning to school to pursue an MBA.  And so ends my two and a half years on the road.  This weekend, as…

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Why Jim Kim is Right for the World Bank

Why Jim Kim is Right for the World Bank

As faithful readers of this blog know, I am a big fan of the Barack Obama’s foreign policy positions and decisions.  Specifically, I like his deference to nuanced conditions and his emphasis on achieving the objective over claiming credit.  In my neck of the woods – specifically, Libya, Somalia, and Uganda – he understands and appreciates the nuances that made previous incursions into the region unsuccessful.  I think he understands that multilateralism and mutual respect can achieve more than the…

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Desperation in the Slums of Nairobi

Desperation in the Slums of Nairobi

On Thursday, I shadowed a colleague of mine as he conducted a survey of one of the slum communities where we have several schools.  For the last few months, I have been analyzing data about the communities where we build schools and understand where demand is highest.  Having spent months looking at scatter plots, I hoped the trip would provide better context and illuminate some of the nuances hidden within the data.  As it turned out, the trip did more…

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The Link Between Poverty and Terrorism

The Link Between Poverty and Terrorism

The link between poverty and terrorism is well-known.  In theory, one of the purposes of organizations like USAID is to complement the other “D’s” of the foreign policy apparatus – diplomacy and defense – to improve conditions for people most likely to be driven to desperation: the poor.  It is not surprising that the hotbeds of terrorism today – Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Indonesia – happen to be some of the poorest countries in the world.  Nor is it surprising…

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Pushing Back on the Millenium Villages

Pushing Back on the Millenium Villages

When you want to know how someone in international development views the world, there is no surer way than asking them whether they identify with Jeffrey Sachs and Bill Easterly.  On this blog, your correspondent has made his proclivities known on multiple occasions – even once being persecuted from doing so by a former employer and being recognized by Mr. Easterly himself for his martyrdom. Jeffrey Sachs, the pre-eminent economist, is generally associated with the top-down school of development economics,…

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Brain Gain: The Upside of Losing Talent Abroad

Brain Gain: The Upside of Losing Talent Abroad

Human capital flight – otherwise known as “brain drain” – presents a challenge for developing countries.  In countries with a lower per-capita GDP, wages are also typically lower.  So highly-skilled labor immigrate to richer nations where their specialized talents yield a salary several times what they could earn in their home countries.  Frequently, these professionals – doctors, lawyers, computer scientists – have been educated at the expense of the government, and losing them is a big hit to the country. …

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Non-Profit Career Advice: Urban Development

Non-Profit Career Advice: Urban Development

This is the first post in an ongoing series offering advice to people interested in learning more about international development work. Mandy Goodgoll, a Masters Candidate in International Affairs at the New School, offers advice on urban development in developing countries and emerging markets. First of all, let me say that urban development is a great field to get into. It can be analytical, creative, big, small, international, local… essentially, whatever you want it to be. Having said that, I would highly…

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Global Diasporas Create Economic Prosperity

Global Diasporas Create Economic Prosperity

The book review in the Wall Street Journal this morning discusses the Robert Guest book, Borderless Economics, which details how global labor movement increases trade, informational flow, communication, and technology.  The topic of migration has been making the rounds, partly due to book reviews of Borderless Economics in all the major journals and magazines, but also because the time is right for a frank discussion about the realities of a global economy. Develop Economies agrees with all of Guest’s points. …

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How to Use Data to Better Serve the BoP Market

How to Use Data to Better Serve the BoP Market

When I was a kid, my parents enrolled me in a program called “Science by Mail” through the Museum of Science in Boston.  The Museum would send me a kit.  Once I received a box containing balsa wood and glue with instructions to build a bridge that could hold as many pennies as possible. Fast forward 20 years, and I am pretty much doing the same thing.  For the last two years, I have been working at different non-profits and…

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Wal-Mart (Does Not) Come to India

Wal-Mart (Does Not) Come to India

There is a fierce debate going on right now in India about a new piece of legislation that that will allow multi-national corporations to operate as joint ventures in the country, owning up to 51%.  And a week ago, the Indian government backtracked and announced that it would not pass the legislation after all.  It is worth examining the potential pros and cons. There has been no shortage of voices from the left and right commenting about whether or not…

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