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Letter: Development Economics 101 Explains Afghan Failure

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Updates to the letter

So much has been written about the purpose and result of the US intervention in Afghanistan (Big Read, August 21). However, the economics doesn’t get much attention.

I would like to highlight the role of development or reconstruction as reported in the Special Inspector General’s “Lessons Learned Program” for the reconstruction of Afghanistan released last month.

He states that “many institutions and infrastructure projects built by the United States were not sustainable” (Lesson 3); that “American personnel in Afghanistan were often unqualified and poorly trained” (lesson 4) and that “American agencies [were] struggling to measure results effectively while sometimes relying on fragile data to claim success ”(Lesson 7).

In development economics, lack of sustainability effectively means that the cost stream over the economic life of a project exceeds the benefits. This situation is common in parts of the developing world plagued by inefficiency and corruption. The roots of failure in Afghanistan, as documented by Sigar, are no mystery. Who is to blame and why is another story.

Professor Mehdi Al Bazzaz
Former World Bank Economist
Alexandria, Virginia, United States

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IGC-ISI Summer School in Development Economics

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11e – 14e July 2021

The International Growth Center, led by the London School of Economics (LSE) and the University of Oxford, in collaboration with the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), New Delhi is organizing the 7e IGC-ISI Summer School in Development Economics from 11e – 14e July 2021. The workshop will be held virtually and is aimed at advanced doctoral students, students with recent doctorates, university professors with recent doctorates, post-docs and research officials from government departments. . The workshop will consist of lectures on a range of topics, reviewing current exploratory research, with an emphasis on quantitative methods relevant to contemporary political issues in India. Participants will have the opportunity to meet online speakers during allotted office hours to discuss their research.

Structure: The sessions cover relevant technical and political topics. These include an introduction to micro-econometric methods for research using household and business data; the latest research on intra-household allowances, development issues and gender economics.

Speakers:

Gaurav Chiplunkar, University of Virginia

Maitreesh Ghatak, London School of Economics

Pramila Krishnan, University of Oxford

Sonia Bhalotra, University of Essex

Note to applicants: Applications should include an up-to-date CV, research sample, and grade sheet or transcript from their Masters / Masters / PhD program. All applicants must also complete the application form (Connect: https://bit.ly/3s67UsB) for the IGC Summer School. If you have any further questions, please email india@theigc.org with the subject line ‘IGC-ISI Summer School 2021’.

Applications must be submitted by 12e May 2021 and acceptance decisions will be made before the 15the June 2021.

Please circulate this notice to your facility / post on the notice board.

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The Missing Voices of Development Economics by Arvind Subramanian & Devesh Kapur

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Development economics focuses on improving the well-being of billions of people in low-income countries, but southern countries are seriously under-represented in this area. A small number of institutions in rich countries dominate, and their increasing use of randomized controlled trials in research reinforces the imbalance.

NEW DELHI – The lack of representation of marginalized groups in the corridors of power – political, financial and cultural – is a growing source of global concern. Knowledge confers power, so who creates it matters. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Samuelson said, “I don’t care who drafts a nation’s laws … if I can write its textbooks.”

Development economics focuses on improving the well-being of billions of people in low-income countries, but southern countries are seriously under-represented in this area. Unfortunately, a small number of institutions in rich countries have appropriated it, with serious consequences. And the problem seems to be getting worse.

Take into account Development economics journal, a leading outlet for research articles in the field. Neither the journal’s editor nor any of its ten co-editors are based in a developing country. Only two of its 69 associate editors are, Africa and Asia being totally unrepresented.

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We just lost a giant in the development economy

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With the passing of Thandika Mkandawire on March 27, 2020, the world lost a development giant, a towering economist, a brilliant thinker and a committed fighter for social justice.

Born in 1940, Thandika first experienced the slap of injustice in her early childhood. One night, trucks arrived with soldiers and took Thandika’s family from their farm in Malawi. They relocated to a town on the Copperbelt in Zambia. There he attended school (for blacks only) and was protected by his family from the brutal inequalities of the time, until one day he and a friend walked into an opulent white residential neighborhood to sell vegetables, and white children insulted and made fun of them. .

As a young man, Thandika began writing for newspapers, but in 1965 he was appointed “persona non grata” in his country, the newly independent Malawi, then ruled by pro-apartheid dictator Kamuzu Banda. He managed to study in the United States (at Ohio State University), South Africa (Rhodes University) and Sweden (Stockholm University), where he eventually settled as a political refugee, living proof that refugee policies are working.

Soon Thandika excelled as a brilliant researcher. He realized that he did not have to spend his years in exile outside Africa, awaiting the liberation of Malawi (he would not return until 1994 after thirty years of exile). In 1982 he moved to Harare, working at the Institute for Development Studies of Zimbabwe, and in 1986 to Senegal, where he became Director of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) based in Dakar.

From 1998 to 2009, he was Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) in Geneva, then professor at the Institute for Future Studies in Stockholm and holder of the African Development Chair at London School of Economics (LSE). It was in Geneva that I first met Thandika who, unlike many academics and UN bureaucrats, was passionate and full of life. His writings are so powerful because he has firsthand experience with issues of development and social injustice.

His work on “Targeting and Universalism in Poverty Reduction” (2005) opened my eyes – and remains relevant today. As developing countries tried to build their universal social protection systems after independence, the debt crisis and adjustment period of the 1980s interrupted the process and pushed governments to abandon universalism for Less expensive, minimal and targeted safety nets for the poor, accompanied by private services for the rich. The inequitable American model has been imported into developing countries. At a time when the world is ideologically tilting towards neoliberalism, blind to its shocking inequalities, Thandika has courageously championed social policies and the developmental state, as shown in her excellent work on Social Policy in a Development Context (2004).

Thandika had a curious and lively mind, attached to difficult truths, as evidenced by her works such as “Disempowering New Democracies” (2006), “Maladjusted African Economies and Globalization” (2004) and “The Spread of Economic Doctrines and Policymaking in Africa. postcolonial ”(2014), among many others. I must also mention his very important book, African intellectuals, political culture and development (2002).

Thandika Mkandawire was a humble human being. He was truly a kind, modest, warm soul, laughing at everything and generous with his time with people. He could go from serious analysis to hilarious observation in a second, and he still had human stories to share. There has been a cascade of sad social media posts since his passing; he was loved by so many people.

The last time we met he was tired (I didn’t know he was sick), but after a few drinks he explained with the same passion as always his research on African industrialization: realizes that all the conditions are there! I asked him his opinion on some things at the UN, and we ended up laughing at the bureaucrats, their ridiculous ideas and the way things are – the same as usual. “Don’t compromise,” he told me, “you start to compromise on a little thing and soon you are one of them.” It was Thandika – he was a mentor and an inspiration to many of us.

The world has indeed lost a giant, an exceptional economist committed to social justice. He was an intellectual hero, fighting against the tide, one of the best directors of all time at the United Nations. Few people on this planet have taken such gigantic strides – from a small village in Malawi to a distinguished professor in some of the best universities in the world. What would the ignorant white children who laughed at Thandika think now, if they knew?

Sincere condolences to his wife Kaarina, his family and his friends. He will be sorely missed. But his thoughts and memories remain with us. Hasta siempre, Thandika.

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We just lost a giant in the development economy

By Development economics No Comments

With the passing of Thandika Mkandawire on March 27, 2020, the world lost a development giant, a towering economist, a brilliant thinker and a committed fighter for social justice.

Born in 1940, Thandika first experienced the slap of injustice in her early childhood. One night, trucks arrived with soldiers and took Thandika’s family from their farm in Malawi. They relocated to a town on the Copperbelt in Zambia. There he attended school (for blacks only) and was protected by his family from the brutal inequalities of the time, until one day he and a friend walked into an opulent white residential neighborhood to sell vegetables, and white children insulted and made fun of them. .

As a young man, Thandika began writing for newspapers, but in 1965 he was appointed “persona non grata” in his country, the newly independent Malawi, then ruled by pro-apartheid dictator Kamuzu Banda. He managed to study in the United States (Ohio State University), South Africa (Rhodes University) and Sweden (Stockholm University), where he eventually settled as a political refugee – living proof that refugee policies work.

Soon Thandika excelled as a brilliant researcher. He realized that he did not have to spend his years in exile outside Africa, awaiting the liberation of Malawi (he would not return until 1994 after thirty years of exile). In 1982 he moved to Harare, working at the Institute for Development Studies of Zimbabwe, and in 1986 to Senegal, where he became Director of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) based in Dakar.

From 1998 to 2009, he was Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) in Geneva, then professor at the Institute for Future Studies in Stockholm and holder of the African Development Chair at London School of Economics (LSE). It was in Geneva that I first met Thandika who, unlike many academics and UN bureaucrats, was passionate and full of life. His writings are so powerful because he has firsthand experience with issues of development and social injustice.

His work on “Targeting and Universalism in Poverty Reduction” (2005) opened my eyes – and remains relevant today. As developing countries tried to build their universal social protection systems after independence, the debt crisis and adjustment period of the 1980s interrupted the process and pushed governments to abandon universalism for Less expensive, minimal and targeted safety nets for the poor, accompanied by private services for the rich. The inequitable American model has been imported into developing countries. At a time when the world is ideologically tilting towards neoliberalism, blind to its shocking inequalities, Thandika has courageously championed social policies and the developmental state, as shown in her excellent work on Social Policy in a Development Context (2004).

Thandika had a curious and lively mind, attached to difficult truths, as evidenced by her works such as “Disempowering New Democracies” (2006), “Maladjusted African Economies and Globalization” (2004) and “The Spread of Economic Doctrines and Policymaking in Africa. postcolonial ”(2014), among many others. I must also mention his very important book, African intellectuals, political culture and development (2002).

Thandika Mkandawire was a humble human being. He was truly a kind, modest, warm soul, laughing at everything and generous with his time with people. He could go from serious analysis to hilarious observation in a second, and he still had human stories to share. There has been a cascade of sad social media posts since his passing; he was loved by so many people.

The last time we met he was tired (I didn’t know he was sick), but after a few drinks he explained with the same passion as always his research on African industrialization: realizes that all the conditions are there! I asked him his opinion on some things at the UN, and we ended up laughing at the bureaucrats, their ridiculous ideas and the way things are – the same as usual. “Don’t compromise,” he told me, “you start to compromise on a little thing and soon you are one of them.” It was Thandika – he was a mentor and an inspiration to many of us.

The world has indeed lost a giant, an exceptional economist committed to social justice. He was an intellectual hero, fighting against the tide, one of the best directors of all time at the United Nations. Few people on this planet have taken such gigantic strides – from a small village in Malawi to a distinguished professor in some of the best universities in the world. What would the ignorant white children who laughed at Thandika think now, if they knew?

Sincere condolences to his wife Kaarina, his family and his friends. He will be sorely missed. But his thoughts and memories remain with us. Hasta siempre, Thandika.

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Liberian earns PhD in international development economics from Peking University in Beijing

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BEIJING – A Liberian, Plingloh Emmanuel Munyeneh, on Saturday received a doctorate from the National Development School (NSD) at Peking University in Beijing, China. in international development economics. His research focuses on the link between forest and agricultural land and the implications for access to land and property rights and poverty reduction. According to Dr Munyeneh, he used the Wonegizi Forest in Lofa County as the unit of analysis for his research.

The findings of his research call for a jurisdictional approach in the implementation of international standards that have far-reaching implications for national governments, particularly on the indigenous poor. Most developing countries are sensitive to international agreements that do not easily fit the “one size fits all” approach. Developing countries must therefore ensure that international agreements are strongly aligned with their national development plans as well as with the SDGs. Most importantly, national governments must be in the driver’s seat every step of the way in the implementation process.

He noted that his time at Peking University gave him a different perspective on how to tackle issues of poverty and inequality. African governments must begin to wonder how China became the world’s second-largest economy when in the late 1970s it was part of the poorest billion with one of the lowest GDPs. Using path dependence, intellectual clarity, and management skills can help developing countries unravel the mystery and pursue the miracle of economic growth and development that is at the heart of peace and prosperity. stability.

Prior to pursuing his academic career at China’s premier university, Mr. Munyeneh was Deputy Minister of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is thanks to the regularity of his production that he obtained the scholarship through the Chinese Embassy near Monrovia. He has held several positions including that of technical advisor to the former Minister of Education, the Hon. Othello Gongar. He has also served as Deputy Director General of the Forestry Development Authority and a consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Liberia Governance Commission and a few international organizations.

Dr Munyeneh graduated in 2010 from the University of Maryland College Park where he obtained a double master’s degree in international development and environmental policy. He also graduated in 1998/99 from the University of Liberia with a B.Sc. in Economics.

Dr Munyeneh expressed his deep thanks to God, Almighty. Noting that nothing good comes easy and that a journey started three years ago has finally paid off. He thanked his family and friends for all the support they gave during his time at university.

He also expressed his gratitude to the administrations of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for trusting him, as well as to President George Weah for recognizing the importance of education as a foundation for peace. , sustainable economic growth and development. Dr Munyeneh also acknowledged the efforts of the Chinese Embassy near Monrovia and the People’s Republic of China for giving him the opportunity to enhance his career.


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IGC Patna Summer School in Development Economics

By Development economics No Comments

Maurya Hotel, 9e– 14eAugust 2020

The International Growth Center, led by the London School of Economics (LSE) and the University of Oxford, together with the Center for Development Studies (CDS) Thiruvananthapuram and the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong is organizing the 2sdIGC Patna Summer School in Development Economics 9e – 14eAugust 2020. The workshop will take place at the Maurya Hotel, Patna.

The workshop is intended for advanced doctoral students, students with recent doctorates, university professors with recent doctorates, post-docs, and public officials engaged in research from government departments. The workshop will consist of lectures on a range of topics, reviewing current exploratory research, with a focus on quantitative methods relevant to contemporary political issues in India. Participants will have the opportunity to meet guest speakers during allotted office hours to discuss their research.

Structure: The sessions cover relevant technical and political topics. These include the introduction to micro-econometric methods for research, including randomized controlled trials (RCTs); the latest research in gender economics, economics of education, agricultural economics, health economics, issues related to migration, technology and innovation and public finance.

Speakers:

Anu Rammohan, University of Western Australia

Arjun Bedi, International Institute for Labor Studies (ISS), The Hague

Chittur S Srinivasan, University of Reading

Faculty, Indian Institute of Management, Shillong (to be confirmed)

Gaurav Chiplunkar, University of Virginia

M Parameswaran, Center for Development Studies

Sugata Marjit, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade

Sunil Mani, Center for Development Studies

Note to applicants: Applications should include an up-to-date CV, research sample, and grade sheet or transcript from their Masters / MPhil / PhD program. All applicants must also complete the application form (Connect: https://forms.gle/DkR7vgt2VxjTbPZz6) for IGC PatnaSummer School. If you have any further questions, please email india@theigc.org with the subject line ‘IGC Patna Summer School 2020’.

2sd Class AC train travel and all local expenses, including accommodation, will be reimbursed for participants accepted at a remote station. Applications must be submitted by 30eApril 2020 and acceptance decisions will be made by 30e June 2020.

Please circulate this notice to your facility / post on the notice board.

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