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LTD Editors's blog

Friday Roundup: Poverty traps, Blanchard shows macrohumility, new demographic forecasts, inequality in Latin America, and counting Ebola's toll

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 Do Poverty Traps Exist? is the question asked by Aart Kraay and David McKenzie in an article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
 
An articulate, humble piece by IMF Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard on key lessons from the 2009 financial crisis, the main one being that much more attention needs to be paid to what he calls ‘dark corners’

A new study by an international team of researchers finds that the world's population will hit 11bn in 2100.

Friday Roundup: Ebola, R&D of Tropical Diseases, One-on-One with Kaushik Basu, the ADB Calls for a Rethink of the International Poverty Line, and the WEF's Global Risks Report

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Reuters reports that the number of new Ebola cases in West Africa is growing faster than authorities can manage them, and that the World Health Organization (WHO) is renewing a call for health workers from around the world to go to the region to help.

The Wall Street Journal's 'Corporate Intelligence' blog finds that R&D by pharmaceuticals on tropical diseases like ebola is on the rise. "Increased focus on tropical diseases [is] a mix of social responsibility and “strategic investment in the customers of tomorrow, given that the tropics are home to over 40% of the world’s population," writes Hester Plumridge.

Small Price Incentives in Land Titling Encourage the Inclusion of Women

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During the 1990s and 2000s, nearly two dozen African countries proposed de jure land reforms extending access to formal, freehold land tenure to millions of poor households, but many of these reforms stalled. Titled land remains largely the preserve of wealthy households and, within households, mainly the preserve of men.

Friday Roundup: Economists and Public Policy, Information Diffusers, Ebola, Human Capital and the Wealth of Nations, and Globalization's Downside

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Do economists care about influencing public policy? is a question asked by Robert Hansen on the 'Overcoming bias' blog. 
 
Abhijit Banerji, Arun Chandrasekhar, Esther Duflo, and Matthew Jackson have a new paper on a study of 43 Indian villages that tackles the subject of gossip and how to identify the village busybody, also known as the best information diffuser. This matters for microfinance and any product for which experts want local uptake or adoption.

Friday round up: Digitizing money, an Asia-focused poverty line, the limits of globalization, and 11 very funny economics papers

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'Africa: Digitizing Money -- A Big Opportunity for Broad-Based Growth in Africa,' is the title of an op ed by Geoffrey Lamb of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Ruth Goodwin-Groen of the Better Than Cash Alliance in AllAfrica.com. The piece cites a new World Bank study by Leora Klapper and others on how better access to basic financial services can help break the cycle of poverty and contribute to broad-based growth. 
 
Nigeria has launched national electronic i.d. cards and the country's President, Goodluck Jonathan, says the e-ID scheme will have a pervasive and positive impact on citizens.

Friday Roundup: Ebola, World Economy in One Chart, Extremism, and Recognizing Humanitarians

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Ebola's deadly spread is sobering, but luckily there are seasoned international health experts, as well as brave doctors and nurses mobilized to battle it. Senior UN System Coordinator for Ebola Virus Disease, David Nabarro, was interviewed by the UN News Centre about efforts to contain unprecedented outbreak in West Africa and had some valuable insights, not least of all that survivors of Ebola are the best champions in tackling the virus.
 
An inspiring personal story is that of Nahid Bhadelia, epidemiologist at the Boston Medical Center who was featured in the Boston Globe just ahead of a mission to Liberia.

​Aid, Growth and Causality

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Last week's Free Exchange blog, run by The Economist, has a post titled 'Aid to the Rescue'.  The piece cites a recent paper by Sebastian Galiani, Stephen Knack, Colin Xu and Ben Zou, which attempts to gauge the effects of aid on growth. Pondering whether it pays for donors to contribute 0.7% of national income toward development assistance, the piece goes on to explain the complexities of establishing causality when analyzing the pay offs from aid.  

Friday roundup: US-Africa Summit, Carbon Reduction and Demographics, Poverty, Robots, and Fair Trade

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US-Africa Summit garners over $17b in pledges and calls for a deeper economic relationship.

In a New York Times article, Eduardo Porter writes about curbing population growth as a way to reduce carbon emissions.
 
Economic growth may be the best way to overcome poverty and reduce social ailments, says The Economist.

Friday Roundup: Human Development Report, LinkedIn Economic Confidence Outlook, Inequality, and Jason Furman

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The 2014 edition of the Human Development Report was released yesterday. The latest report focuses on promoting people’s choices and protecting human development achievements. 

LinkedIn’s Economic Confidence Outlook predicts scattered optimism for the future of the global economy.  The survey, conducted in the first quarter of 2014, of more than 14,000 senior business leaders on LinkedIn in 16 different countries around the world is designed to gauge leaders’ confidence level in the global economy and their country. 

Welfare dynamics measurement: Two definitions of a vulnerability line and their empirical application

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Little research currently exists on a vulnerability line that distinguishes the poor population from the population that is not poor but that still faces significant risk of falling back into poverty. A new World Bank policy research working paper by Hai-Anh H. Dang and Peter F. Lanjouw attempts to fill this gap by proposing vulnerability lines that can be straightforwardly estimated with panel or cross-sectional household survey data, in rich- and poor-country settings. These vulnerability lines offer a means to broaden traditional poverty analysis and can also assist with the identification of the middle class or resilient population groups. Empirical illustrations are provided using panel data from the United States (Panel Study of Income Dynamics) and Vietnam (Vietnam Household Living Standards Survey) for the period 2004-2008 and cross-sectional data from India (National Sample Survey) for the period 2004-2009. The estimation results indicate that in Vietnam and India during this time period, the population living in poverty and the middle class have been falling and expanding, respectively, while the opposite has been occurring in the United States.

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