Like a growing number of development economists, I am now convinced of a simple truth about our understanding of economic development: hope is underrated. Indeed the importance of hope and aspirations among the poor are the subject of a growing literature, where work by researchers such as Debraj Ray and
In a previous post I talked about some issues with collecting gender disaggregating data in practice. Susan Watkins helpfully pointed me to a number of papers which provide more systematic and thoughtful evidence on data collection issues that a lot of us face and I thought it would be useful to summarize some of them here.
International mobility of people is measured much less accurately than that of goods or finances. The most common sources of global data are from national censuses, which occur only every 10 years (and take years more to come out). Specialized surveys in some countries allow more frequent measurement of some flows, but such data are still relatively rare, and poorly suited to studying short-term migration movements.
These past few weeks I’ve been immersed in reviews of health systems research proposals and it’s fascinating to see the common themes that emerge from each round of proposals as well as the literature cited to justify these themes as worthy of funding.
· New data on remittance prices worldwide just released by the World Bank – the most costly corridor is sending money from South Africa to Malawi, which averages $48 costs on a $200 transaction!
Arun Agrawal, of the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, is the new editor of the journal World Development. He graciously agreed to continue our series of Q&As with journal editors.
Development Impact: You have taken over recently as editor of World Development. Tell us briefly about your vision for the journal – how do you aim to differentiate World Development from other development journals?
· Work for me this summer: I'm looking for someone with good Stata skills who can help work with data coming in from a couple of randomized experiments, as well as to help develop and design some new work on improving measurement of business profits in developing countries. The latter would include the use of some innovative experiments with RFID technology, which I don't know much about, so the summer intern would spend some time trying to set this up.
I am in the early stages of exploring how to use RFID tags to improve measurement of turnover in small businesses. Does anyone know of cases where RFID tags have been used to track aid flows, or in development projects to track mass quantities of goods? I know technology is rapidly evolving and price dropping here, but would be good to know of recent experiences on this.