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Does microcredit fuel investment?

Cato released a new study today, "A Second Look at Microfinance", that considers the history of economic development and questions whether microcredit can do much to promote investment and growth. In it, author Thomas Dichter finds that economic growth usually comes first, and then credit becomes available more widely; even then, that credit is for consumption, not investment. From the conclusion:

Market forces for mobsters too

In a twist to the labor market flexibility debate, the Financial Times reports dramatically more flexible working hours in the Japanese underworld. Japanese police reveal over 50 percent of gang members are now "part-time," opting out of the hierarchical world of full-time mobsterhood – compared to 30% in the regular economy.

Country image building do's & don'ts

The most interesting meeting I've attended so far in 2007 took place last week. My colleague, Edie Wilson, put it together. She wrote up some of her impressions and has agreed to let me share them here. Edie is a senior communications advisor at the World Bank and spent a decade working at public relations firm Burson-Marsteller. Her words follow:

New blogger: Suzanne Smith

She's been behind the scenes since this blog started, and now Suzanne Smith will be posting regularly to PSD Blog. Suzanne manages the Rapid Response Unit, also known as our sponsor at the World Bank Group.

A New Zealander, Suzanne will bring her considerable writing chops to bear on a wide range of financial and private sector development topics. Welcome Suzanne!