A development economist’s guide for cheering on World Cup teams

A development economist’s guide for cheering on World Cup teams

Worth a read if the USA loses. Otherwise, we all know who to root for. 


Giving a transport subsidy to job seekers for up to 11 weeks in Ethiopia increases the likelihood of finding steady employment by more than a third. That’s pretty cool.

Giving a transport subsidy to job seekers for up to 11 weeks in Ethiopia increases the likelihood of finding steady employment by more than a third. That’s pretty cool.

Interesting to think something as simple as paying for a job seeker’s transportation could help them increase their likelihood of getting a job by 30%. Is this the case in urban areas elsewhere? Would the effects be as strong if every poor job seeker had their transportation subsidized? More questions to think about.

Another link I thought about posting on Facebook last night but then decided to post it here, where I hope that the judgment of my dorkiness might be a little less harsh:


Among other things, Russ Roberts accuses Jeff Sachs of crushing the dreams of poor people. It’s a 120 min debate about the Millennium Villages Project, the criticism it faces, and the realities of its impact. One surprising takeaway: Sachs thinks that evaluating the impact of his project against comparison villages is useless. Hmmm…

Got the link for the interview from Chris Blattman’s blog.


Kenya’s election only one week away

Kenya’s election only one week away

“There is a growing perception among many members of Mr. Kenyatta’s ethnic group, the Kikuyu, and Mr. Ruto’s, the Kalenjin, that they must win this election in order to protect their leaders from being hauled off to a jail cell in Europe, which is raising tensions even higher.”

– Jeffrey Gettleman NYT Feb 22, 2013

Kenya’s presidential election may be the most eagerly anticipated in sub-Saharan Africa this year and it is only one week away. Peace throughout the process will bring unexpected hope for the country and region going forward while ethnic violence could further entrench a crippling precedent. Check out this piece by Jeffrey Gettleman to gauge the level of tension leading up to March 4th.


Article in The Hindu about a place we stayed in India

Article in The Hindu about a place we stayed in India

Check out this article about Malika Virdi’s homestay program in Munsyari, Uttarakhand, India. Munsiyari is a town nestled in the Himalayas near the border of India and Nepal where Katie, Mom, and I stayed when we went to India last summer. They charged 750 rupees a night (about $14) to stay in a guest room at one of the houses in the community. Part of your fee of course, goes to the women that host you, to supplement their daily agricultural work. The program offers visitors an opportunity to experience a remote neighborhood completely encompassed by the nature of the Himalayas. Malika and the people from the village lead guided hikes and nature walks and have amazing knowledge about all of the local plants and animals. We didn’t have time to help out with any of the farming that visitors are encouraged to part take in (we were only there for one night) but we did have a few other memorable experiences. If you’re every traveling through northern India/Nepal, try to make a stop here for an incredibly peaceful venue, and an experience as authentic as it gets, staying and working with the local community. 

A few stories from our 24 hours there:

– We took a hike up a hill to the village’s central water source, a pond that you could drink from. On the way up Ram (mentioned in the article) told us everything about practically every plant we passed (Mom’s favorite part of the stay……)

– I saw the biggest butterfly I have ever seen. Ram said it was called a birdfly, because it looked like what would happen if a bird and a butterfly had a baby. Might sound weird but it was one of the coolest animals I have ever seen. 

– I woke up to a colony of tiny worms crawling at the head of my bed. One of the freakiest experiences of my trip to India was when I woke up in the middle of the night and flashed my headlamp around this room that I was sleeping in for the first time. I pointed the lamp down at my bed and saw a tiny worm on my bed about ten inches from my pillow. Obviously my heart stopped for a few seconds, and then I proceeded to look at the wall behind my pillow, only to find dozens more crawling up and down the wall. 

I moved down to the other end of my bed and slept in a ball facing off the foot of the bed, my back to where my head should have been. I couldn’t sleep much more because I kept having to getting my light out of my clenched hands every twenty minutes to check for worms but they never made it down to my end of the mattress. I finally slept for about an hour and woke up at 5, worms gone back to their hole in wall, to a beautiful morning. 

– Before we left we got to speak to Malika for a few hours about her remarkable life and the community in Munsiyari. She is a really amazing person woman who has done super interesting work throughout her life and conquered some pretty impressive mountains as well. In 2005 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by an organization called PeaceWomen Across the Globe. 

Like I said, if you are ever traveling through the area, be sure to spend a few days/weeks here!