One popular solution to unemployment is to provide the unemployed with more skills through training. However, the impacts of vocational training in developed countries have been at most modest.
An interesting new paper by Abhijit Banerjee, Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, Esther Duflo, Daniel Keniston, and Nina Singh shows how sometimes top-down reforms might be a good move through a look at a range of reforms tried out by the police in Rajasthan, India.
To get children to attend school in developing countries, our approach has been primarily to assume that the schooling that is available is worth pursuing, meaning that the problem must be with some barrier to go to school despite a great desire to do so: perhaps the family cannot afford the costs of schooling; perhaps the schools are not good or too far; perhaps the children want to be in school but the parents prefer food today to educated daughter tomorrow; maybe people don’t know the value of schooling, etc.
In 1993 India adopted gender quotas for local councils. In particular, the position of chief councilor (or Pradhan) was reserved for women in 1/3 of the village councils in any given election – and this 1/3 was selected at random. As one might expect, this has led to a surge in the number of women holding this post. It also provides a ripe environment for impact evaluation work.
Lant Pritchett once said to me “Thanks for the comments. As usual they are all very smart and well-informed and I disagree with most.” I feel similarly regarding his very popular piece posted here last week (already one of the top 10 most popular posts in our blog's short history) on how CCTs are forcing children in developing countries into terrible schools. So, here goes a reply…
In the early 20th century Helen Todd, a factory inspector in Chicago, interviewed 500 children working in factories, often in dangerous and unpleasant conditions. She asked children the question: “If your father had a good job and you didn’t have to work, which would you rather do—go to school or work in a factory?” 412 said they would choose factory work. One fourteen year old girl, who was interviewed lacquering canes in an attic working with both intense heat and the constant smell of turpentine, said “School is the fiercest thing you can come up against. F
There are "missing women" everywhere. Parents worldwide, and especially in Asia, have strong preferences for sons over daughters, which causes them to selectively abort female fetuses (Arnold et al., 2002;
A piece in this week’s Nature reports that a large vaccine trial for HPV, which can cause cervical cancer, is in trouble in India due to serious violations of ethical rules and informed consent.
Diseases like malaria, diarrhea and intestinal worms plague hundreds of millions of people in the developing world. A major puzzle for development researchers and practitioners is why the poor do not purchase available prevention technologies that could reduce the burden of these diseases. While much of the recent literature has focused on price elasticities of demand and behavioral explanations, another potential explanation is that liquidity constraints prevent the poor from undertaking profitable health investments.