In response to several request (3 or 4 at least!), I’m going to be throwing some new content up onto this blog.
Given the gap since I last wrote, I think what makes the most sense here is a series of “content dumps.” So below are interesting pieces or links from the past few months on a few different themes.
Stay tuned as well for my “photo dump” and “thought dump.”
In the “readable” category:
- On aid: The Gates Foundation annual letter on busting aid myths and Jeff Sachs on The Case for Aid
- On (conditionally not inherently) ineffective aid: The Boring Development Manifesto and Development Bloat
- On planning: The Gulf Between Planning and Reality and Traffic Forecast Follies and Ricardo Hausman on the Atlas of Economic Complexity
- On the next big thing: The benefits of direct cash transfers vs. Why cash transfers are not the next big thing
- On trends in agriculture: The “Boring Development” Blog on hybrid maize as a prototypical example of “boring” (and highly impactful) development; The New Yorker on the Climate Corp bringing “big data” to American agriculture; The Guardian on Tef’s rise as a fashionable grain and the difficulties Ethiopia may see in attempting to profit
In local news:
- “The Reporter” on current trends and worries observed within the government: military terminology in governance, “Too many reform initiatives, too little change”, “Quietly slipping export.” Plus Ethiopian film wins award at Sundance.
- “Addis Fortune” also has this interesting, if vague, piece critiquing the government for not better modernizing agricultural commodity markets. And Fortune’s “gossip” column on debates over aid to Ethiopia in the US Congress
Interesting, academic, and not necessarily worth reading:
- The mechanisms of persistent implementation failure on why it’s not appropriate to expect developing countries to become perfect implementers overnight
- A theory of good intentions as a behavioral exploration of why donors (individual, but also implicitly institutional) might not concentrate on the projects that would actually be most beneficial
- Development, Structure, and Transformation: Some Evidence of Comparative Economic Growth with its implication that Ethiopia’s lack of a port may be a historical and permanent setback
- A talk on Ethiopia as success story for pursuing a strategy of broad-based rural development (rather than a focus on urbanization)
- The International Food Policy Research Institute on Agricultural Commercialization, Rural Transformation and Poverty Reduction: What have We Learned about How to Achieve This. Apparently what’s needed is “state-led programs and investments to support smallholder productivity growth” and “state-led creation of an enabling environment to encourage private investment” across the agricultural value chain.
Flashy TED talks:
- Melinda Gates on “What non-profits can learn from Coca-Cola”
- The founder of Acumen Fund on ideas and businesses that make a difference