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Author Archives: William Easterly

Economics professors’ favorite economics professors

From a newly published article here.

Before anyone on this list gets too much of a swollen head, note that everyone after the top 4 got between 5 and 10 votes out of 299 professors surveyed (there was another group at 4 votes, including a certain J. S*chs). There also seems to be a sheer name recognition effect over-representing economists that show up in the news media, kind of the same way that Donald…

Posted in Academic research | 10 Comments

World Bank mustn’t say “democracy,” but “deploy troops” is OK

UPDATE: Wed, May 11: World Bank media chief David Theis responds (see end of comments section below)

I finally read the World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report, Conflict, Security, and Development. It shed new light on an earlier discussion I had by email with World Bank Media Chief David Theis last month, which I reproduce here, and then I add a new letter I just sent to Mr. Theis.

To World Bank Media Chief David Theis, April…

Posted in Aid debates, Democracy and freedom | 20 Comments

Saving Private Hayek

UPDATE: 3:30pm links to other reviews (all great) of the Fukuyama review at end of this post

F.A. Hayek continues to be the most mis-characterized economist of all time.  As if Glenn Beck were not doing enough damage, now even someone I greatly respect — Frank Fukuyama– has gotten Hayek wrong yet again. In a review of a new edition of the Constitution of Liberty in the NYT book review, Fukuyama says at the end:

In the end,

Posted in Books and book reviews, Economics principles, Uncategorized | 28 Comments

Coming out as a feminist

UPDATE 9 am, Saturday, May 7: Another round with Matt (see comment below), another unnecessary reassurance for Offended White Males: yes I completely agree that nobody is automatically guilty or evil based on their gender and race.

Jessica Mack from the great blog Gender Across Borders, interviewed me on feminism in development yesterday, find it here. I had never voiced before what I said in the interview. Some were pleasantly surprised, a few forgot to include the word “pleasantly.”

One commenter…

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Human rights, Women and gender | 31 Comments

The Great Manhattan Africa Luxury Coffee Tour

Welcome to Manhattan, tourists! Today’s tour will accomplish three things: (1) you will find great coffee places, (2) you will find great coffees from Africa, and (3) you will end poverty in Africa. OK, both coffee people and aid people tend to exaggerate, so don’t take (3) literally, unless you are from the Earth Institute.

What better place to begin Manhattan coffee mania than at Stumptown Coffee Shop? This place takes African coffee so seriously,…

Posted in Field notes, Maps, Trade | Tagged , | 24 Comments

Me-ism, and other Reasons for Economists to Think Big about Development

Why should economists continue to work on such ambitious Big Ideas in Development — what drives Development?  Freedom? Property Rights? Human Capital? Whether you are just like ME?

One good reason is that most people are going to have their own Big Ideas anyway.  If economists and other social scientists refuse to discuss Big Ideas, then people will just base them on some random anecdote or on laughably casual empirics. (I once heard a prominent non-development economist say he understood underdevelopment after his…

Posted in Big ideas | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Qaddafi is right about some things

From the collection of his definitive writings:

Women, like men, are human beings….we must understand the natural difference between the two sexes. Women are female and men are male. According to gynaecologists women, unlike men, menstruate each month. (p. 74, M. Al Gathafi, The Green Book, World Center for the Study and Research of the Green Book, 2009 edition)

Posted in In the news | 9 Comments

She’s unemployed, he’s on welfare, benefits being cut, what future?

Taken from one of my 3 morning papers today, I forget which one (FT, WSJ, NYT):

Kate and Prince William

Posted in In the news | 5 Comments

Evil values are also long-lasting

Academic development economists have become newly interested in cultural values, and one of their most common findings is that cultural differences between regions and towns last a very a long time. I confess I’m a fan of this research.

But even I was surprised when a paper at NYU’s Development Seminar yesterday showed that if your (regional) ancestors persecuted Jews in 1348-50, you were more likely to become a Nazi in the 1920s and 1930s.

Posted in Academic research | Tagged , | 27 Comments

If North Dakota were Zambia…

The Wall Street Journal had an article yesterday about the emptying out of the middle of the US. Controlling for ethnicity, the picture below shows in the darkest shades of red the greatest declines in the white population from 2000 to 2010:

What if we had a law that everybody had to stay in their home state? What if North Dakotans had to stay in North Dakota despite the collapsing economy there? Then…

Posted in Migration | 24 Comments