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Submitted by Sylvain Dessy on
Behavioral economics as a development mantra has undoubted academic legitimacy. It instills confidence within the development community (scholars and practitionners) that we now know the culprit of persisting poverty in Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, and can finally bring an end to it one field experiment at a time. But, there are lingering questions still needing to be addressed before economic modelling can be dismissed as a legitimate method development inquiry: (i) Just how did the West fought poverty within itself prior to behavioral economics? (ii) If the standard assumptions and models of economics had little to do with the rise of the West, Japan, Korea, and now China, what did? (iii) What is different about poverty in the West --more than a century ago--, in Korea-- less than a century ago--, and poverty in the developing world today? (iv) How can behavioral economics change the culture of doing things where a section of the population (sometime the most powerful one) gains from the status quo?