Skip to content

Tag Archives: New York Times

Oops, did I just prove “Confessions of a hit man” conspiracy?

Ray Fisman in Slate takes my paper with Daniel Berger, Nathan Nunn, and Shanker Satyanath on Commercial Imperialism as partial confirmation of John Perkins’ allegation of a global conspiracy to take down poor nations for the benefit of rich corporations. This is fun, so let’s run with it.

Of course there’s a eeny weeny difference between conspiracy theories and social science that just says, yes, CIA interventions could have been helpful to US corporations…

Posted in Academic research, Trade | Also tagged , 10 Comments

Poor People Behaving Badly?

NYT columnist Nick Kristof had an uber-provocative Sunday column:

…if the poorest families spent as much money educating their children as they do on wine, cigarettes and prostitutes, their children’s prospects would be transformed. Much suffering is caused not only by low incomes, but also by shortsighted private spending decisions by heads of households.

The Obamzas, a Congolese family from the village of Mont-Belo that Kristof met, say they can’t afford $2.50 per month…

Posted in Cognitive biases, In the news | Also tagged 45 Comments

The knowledgeable people agree on how to reform finance, so Senate gets it wrong

Senate Financial Bill Misguided, Some Academics Say

As Democrats close in on their goal of overhauling the nation’s financial regulations, several prominent experts say that the legislation does not even address the right problems, leaving the financial system vulnerable to another major crisis

so says the NYT today.

Meanwhile, the academic I respect most on Finance, Ross Levine of Brown, has just released an NBER Working Paper called The Autopsy of the Financial System (

Posted in Academic research, In the news | Also tagged , 5 Comments

We have met the enemy and he is powerpoint: NYT on the military

The New York Times had a front pager today on a story that this blog (twice: Dec 22, 2009 and Dec 12, 2009 ) and other blogs has been all over for months – the use of nonsensical Powerpoint slides to guide the US military in Afghanistan. The NYT reproduced the infamous Afghan nation-building spaghetti chart over most of the front page:

“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of

Posted in Democracy and freedom, In the news, Military aid | Also tagged , 12 Comments

Foreign until proven American

Anti-immigration hysteria becomes law in Arizona.

Posted in In the news, Migration | Also tagged 2 Comments

Skip Gates blames Africans for slave trade

as well as Europeans.

…90 percent of those shipped to the New World were enslaved by Africans and then sold to European traders. The sad truth is that without complex business partnerships between African elites and European traders and commercial agents, the slave trade to the New World would have been impossible, at least on the scale it occurred.

Advocates of reparations for the descendants of those slaves generally ignore this untidy problem of the

Posted in In the news | Also tagged 22 Comments

The good news on maternal mortality: Uncertainty about everything except the advocates’ response

UPDATE 4/15, 4pm EDT: see end of post.

The NYT lead story today (as well as other media) reports a new study with some very good news:

For the first time in decades, researchers are reporting a significant drop worldwide in the number of women dying each year from pregnancy and childbirth, to about 342,900 in 2008 from 526,300 in 1980.

So happy about success! Alas, the universal rule with media reports of development…

Posted in Badvocacy and celebs, Data and statistics, Global health, In the news | Also tagged , 11 Comments

Miracles of spontaneous order: where to get a cab around NYU

The New York Times has this wonderful interactive feature today, where you can see where most cab pickups and dropoffs happen at any time of day on any day. It confirms a puzzling feature that I had already observed: getting a cab is hopeless at one corner, but if you move just one block over you are sure to get one. The map shows the number of cab pickups around NYU at 5pm on a…

Posted in In the news, Language, Maps | Also tagged 9 Comments

When Kenya saved Washington DC

In today’s NYT :

… everyone-as-informant mapping is shaking up the world, bringing the Wikipedia revolution to the work of humanitarians and soldiers who parachute into places with little good information. And an important force behind this upheaval is a small Kenyan-born organization called Ushahidi, which has become a hero of the Haitian and Chilean earthquakes and which may have something larger to tell us about the future of humanitarianism, innovation…

Posted in Disaster relief, In the news, Maps | Also tagged 5 Comments

Rodrik, Defining Libertarians, Afghan Tribes, Finding Coffee in New York

Links for Friday:

Dani Rodrik gets way too excited about changing IMF views on capital controls.

Will Wilkinson: libertarians are liberals who like markets.

The NYT again tries tribal analysis in Afghanistan: did they get it wrong again?

Bonus non-development link: where to find the best coffee in New York

Posted in In the news, Maps | Also tagged , , , , 2 Comments