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New blogger: Chris Monasterski

Okay, so perhaps I've been on a recruiting binge, but here's one more blogger on the team. (And look for a final newbie next week.) Chris Monasterski is new to the IFC and brings a particular interest in financial markets. He's sitting in my old office, now that I've moved on to another role...see the next post.

Welcome Chris!

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: