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Category Archives: Technology

World Bank to Bloggers: Drop Dead

UPDATE: Bill receives WDR2011 in Sunday 12:30pm email from World Bank. Should we complain now that he is getting special treatment? This morning we learned that the World Bank does not consider bloggers journalists. According to Bank policy, it won’t give press accreditation to bloggers, denying them access to the media briefing center where new[.....]

Also posted in Meta | Tagged | 27 Comments

Twitter and Income Distribution

UPDATE 11:35am: don’t think I obsess about Twitter numbers (see end of post) I posted a link on Twitter to yesterday’s great post by Laura: “Does Japan need your donation?”. A little while later the traffic on Aid Watch exploded. Being still pretty clueless about social media, I didn’t know why. Much later in the day, the reason[.....]

Also posted in Data and statistics | Tagged , | 5 Comments

How Ignorance dooms Autocracy

Tier Type of knowledge Recommended actions System Compatible with autocracy?
(1) Certainty (known knowns) Just do it Administration Yes
(2) Probability (known unknowns) Hypothesis testing Academic freedom Temporarily Yes, eventually No
(3) Ignorance (unknown unknowns) Decentralized feedback and accountability Individual liberty No
Also posted in Democracy and freedom | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Instead of the Iron Curtain, the Facebook Curtain

This map shows the pattern of Facebook friendship links across places around the world, with lots of white where there are very dense links across nearby places. The map was created by a Facebook intern, and I learned about it (where else?) on Facebook (HT Mari Kuraishi). One interesting pattern is a kind of Facebook Curtain somewhat[.....]

Also posted in Data and statistics, Maps | Tagged | 21 Comments

US Government asks all governments to respect World Press & Internet Freedom except for US Government

From wonkette (HT David Zetland), the State Department has announced with impeccable timing (what is that Wikileaks thing?) and deafness to irony: The theme for next year’s commemoration {of World Press Freedom Day} will be 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development[.....]

Also posted in Democracy and freedom, Satire and parodies | 12 Comments

The Rock Star theory of rising inequality and development successes

from Alan Krueger’s study of “Rockonomics” Top 1% Rock Stars are getting more and more of Rock Income. The explanation? Cheaper audio equipment means top stars can capture more of the market. Why listen to the second-rate stars when the first-rate produce an unlimited number of recordings for you to listen to them? (And then you want to[.....]

Also posted in Big ideas | 6 Comments

Technology history don’t lie

Yours truly has a crazy new article in the latest issue of Foreign Policy on why no-tech ancient civilizations still can’t catch up, based on my published research with Diego Comin and Erick Gong. But all is not doom and gloom, you just have to learn the right lessons from technology history: As China’s history[.....]

Also posted in Academic research | 11 Comments

The Communist version of Facebook

see here.

7 Comments

How to become a feudal lord with hundreds of servants for $99

Our image of a medieval king is of somebody with hundreds of servants waiting upon His Majesty. Today, for $99, you commoners can get a much larger and better group waiting upon you. You will even have dead servants working for you – (1) Sumerians from 3000 BC (2) Babylonians from 2000 BC, (3) Egyptians[.....]

Tagged | 9 Comments

Was the poverty of Africa determined in 1000 BC?

The usual development conversation about determinants of per capita income revolves around modern choices of institutions or economic policies. But what if history is the main determinant of development today? A paper by Diego Comin, Erick Gong, and myself was just published in the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics. We collected crude but informative data on[.....]

Also posted in Academic research | Tagged | 67 Comments
  • About Aid Watch

    The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University's Development Research Institute (DRI). This blog is principally written by William Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" and "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good," and Professor of Economics at NYU. It is co-written by Laura Freschi and by occasional guest bloggers. Our work is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.

    "Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking." - H.L. Mencken

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