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February 2009

The private sector meets randomized evaluations

Ryan Hahn's picture

For nearly a decade now, the gold standard in international development in the public sector has been the randomized evalution. There are numerous examples, perhaps the most famous being that of Mexico's PROGRESA program. Until recently financial and private sector development were more or less ignored or assumed unfit for this type of evaluation - I suspect the (mistaken) assumption was that survival in the marketplace was enough of an evaluation.

Can Social Networking Technology Undo Old Political Networks?

Silvio Waisbord's picture

I always find puzzling how easily techno-enthusiasts believe that new information software and gizmos can successfully address many problems for democratic communication. I guess it’s part of the perennial search for quick magic bullets to solve the miseries of the world.

Landing in Gizo: Understanding the Solomon Islands

Edith Bowles's picture

The country is often dismissed as the Pacific's failed state, yet conversations with community members and officials reveal clear visions of what a state can provide in terms of services and a role in community life.
The Gizo airport in Solomon Islands has no parking lot, because there is no road – only a jetty out into the lagoon. It took me several minutes and a walk around the solitary airport building to work this out, by which point my plane had already headed back to Honiara, the country’s capital.

The Gizo airstrip, reportedly built for a visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the 1970s, occupies the entire length of the island of Nusatupe – as a quick look at Google Maps confirms. It is located picturesquely, if ultimately somewhat inconveniently, about two kilometers from the provincial capital island of Gizo. As I was beginning to wonder how I was going to make my way to Gizo, a team from the Government’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock fortunately pulled up in an outboard motorboat.

In December, just three months after my arrival in the Solomon Islands to serve as the World Bank’s country manager, I chose Western Province for my second trip out of Honiara. One of the main goals in my first year on the job is to visit each of the nine provinces to begin gaining some understanding of this small but complex country.

Active consumption is a form of patriotism

Ryan Hahn's picture

When people speak of patriotism, they tend to think of war and of deeds on the battlefield. But even in peacetime, patriotism can actually be found in every facet of life. More than simply an idea, patriotism is an action. Today, as China faces serious difficulties and challenges both domestic and international, active consumption is a form of patriotism...

How windy is your neighborhood? Interactive map shows you

James I Davison's picture

Here’s a website that might pique your interest, even if you don’t plan on becoming the next T. Boone Pickens – a wealthy American businessman who is investing millions of his own dollars in wind energy. A site called FirstLook has a Google Maps mashup overlaying years of meteorological wind data onto an interactive map.

They’ve recently expanded their wind data to cover the entire planet, making it a really easy tool to see potential spots for future wind farms in Mongolia (pretty good) versus Indonesia (not so good). The website sells detailed site location information, which is intended for entrepreneurs looking to get in on the ground floor of alternative energy investments. Still, I think the free wind speed data is interesting by itself.

The FirstLook site also has a section to look at an area’s solar satellite data, but it unfortunately only covers the places in the United States.

(via Springwise.com)

Consumption smoothing via migration and remittances

Dilip Ratha's picture

Atlanta Fed Research Economist Federico Mandelman and Andrei Zlate, a PhD candidate in economics at Boston College, have prepared a paper analyzing the role that of migration and remittances during the business cycle. The data they present indicate that when the U.S. economy has outperformed Mexico’s, there were usually more attempted illegal crossings into the United States.


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