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East Asia and Pacific

A country’s economic litmus test

An economic litmus test is not whether a country can attract a lot of FDI but whether it has a business environment that nurtures entrepreneurship, supports healthy competition and is relatively free of heavy handed political intervention. In this regard, India has done a better job than China.

Synthetic worlds

Pablo has called attention to my review of Acemoglu and Robinson's 'The Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy'. I wrote another review recently, for those of you who've been following our thread on computer games and development.

Global economic perceptions

A new BBC World Service Poll highlights highly divergent economic perceptions across the world. 15 countries see conditions getting better, 17 see them getting worse. The poll also shows that countries that have received World Bank loans are particularly positive about our influence. See also the BBC story, or a previous Gallup poll on global optimism.

Aceh Diary: Dining out

Food in Banda Aceh is GREAT (especially the seafood)! That is, if you can bear going to the same 5 or 6 restaurants day in and out. Many people eventually opt for their own cooking, at least for dinner, since many organizations provide a simple lunch catered or cooked on the premises. Others like us without a kitchen (which we’re renovating), tend to alternate between the few Chinese-style seafood restaurants and venues offering western cuisine frequented by the expat community.

Nonprofit healthcare in Cambodia

If childbirth is a miracle of nature, then the thriving, honestly run network of clinics and hospitals here is a human marvel, managed not by the government but by one of the nonprofit groups it has hired to run entire public health districts.

…These contracted services have allowed international donors and concerned governments to cut through dysfunctional bureaucracies - or work around them, and to improve health care and efficiency at modest cost.

Chinese corruption portal launched

China's discipline watchdog announced… the opening of a website facilitating the public reporting of corruption.

Thanks to CIPE Blog for the pointer. Here is the site (I think?).

Aceh Diary: Price distortions

There are two prices in Banda Aceh—the price charged to locals, and that reserved for foreigners. Or as some around here put it the “blue-eyed price” and the “brown-eyed price."

I had heard before coming out that Banda is something of a bubble economy these days from all the local and international organizations and NGOs falling over each other in a rush to spend the big bucks. I didn’t realize then to what extent that’s true, and how much it’s distorting the local economy and perceptions of the people as to the budget limitations some organizations, including IFC, have.


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