Category Archives: Trade & Development

Bedding down in the green room

Film magnate Jack Valenti’s death last week reminded me of a story that former Trade Minister Peter Cook once told me. During the negotiations on the Uruguay Round of WTO talks in the early-1990s, the US brought in Valenti for … Continue reading

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This should be good. David Dollar is one of the World Bank’s top economists. How long can China’s economic miracle continue? David Dollar, World Bank Wednesday 21 March, 2.30-4pm Crawford Lecture Theatre, Sir Roland Wilson Building, ANU

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Do elections bring prosperity?

Two of my favourite economists – Daron Acemoglu and Ed Glaeser – debate whether democracy boosts growth. It’s worth reading not only because of the substance, but also because the duo do a nice job of arguing about their highly technical … Continue reading

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The Economics of Extortion

Patrick Barron and Ben Olken have a great paper out. Entitled The Simple Economics of Extortion: Evidence from Trucking in Aceh, it looks at corruption along trucking routes in Northern Sumatra. There are so many clever and original things that this … Continue reading

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Rennimbi Relief and Bolivar Bestowments

Today’s NYT has an interesting oped on ‘rogue aid’, giving a neat Nigerian example: The Nigerian government operates three railways, which are notoriously corrupt and inefficient. They are also falling apart. The World Bank — where my friend works — … Continue reading

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Mind the Gap

My brother draws my attention to yet another superb Google tool, the Google Gapminder. It’s a compendium of data (I assume from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators) that shows differences across the world in incomes and 16 other social indicators. … Continue reading

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Free trading social democrats

The Democratic Leadership Council offers some observations on US trade policy that are surprisingly apt here too. While the president has always been rhetorically pro-trade, he’s presided over a long series of blunders and lost opportunities for trade expansion. He … Continue reading

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What should we give?

Wondering how much you should give to charity? Peter Singer has some pointers, based on his classic example of how much we should expend to save a child drowning in a shallow pond. In any case, even if we were … Continue reading

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Should charity begin – and end – at home?

On many issues, such as higher education, the Centre for Independent Studies seems to care deeply about facts and data. But on certain topics, it seems only too happy to throw evidence out the window in favour of rhetoric. One … Continue reading

Posted in Thinktanks, Trade & Development | 29 Comments

Smells like bovine spirit

My friend and Imagining Australia coauthor Peter Tynan has just written a chapter (with John Stephenson) on the US-India nuclear agreement. They conclude that proponents have overplayed its benefits (“Although the development of nuclear energy today could aid in the … Continue reading

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If we're going to compete in the global marketplace for ideas, we'll need better rhetoric than this

My friend Ben Ticehurst points out that a certain phrase seems to have crept into John Howard’s vocabulary lately. It seems the PM can’t stop talking about Australia’s “competitive advantage“. While the term “competitiveness” means something when applied to firms, … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Trade & Development | 18 Comments

Fair-y tales

Among the interesting papers that have crossed my desk recently: Fairness, Export Subsidies, and the Fair Trade Movement Mathias Risse & Malgorzata Kurjanska ABSTRACT: Subsidies and the Fair Trade movement are two topics central to reflection on fairness in trade. … Continue reading

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Uniform policies

Lots of things don’t work in development. It’s good to come across one that does. Education and HIV/AIDS Prevention: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Western Kenya Esther Duflo, Pascaline Dupas, Michael Kremer & Samuel Sinei The authors report results … Continue reading

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