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September 2005

'Protecting women' in India

We know that well-meaning regulations often damage people they were intended to protect. Strong prohibitions on firing workers, for example, make employers reluctant to hire, and particularly to take a chance on inexperienced workers.
Saddening to hear the news from India, then:

Gary Becker on sustainable development

A recent study (see Becker, Philipson, and Soares, "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality" American Economic Review, March 2005) shows how to combine improvement in life expectancy with traditional measures of the growth in GDP to measure what we call the growth in "full" income. We demonstrate that the growth in full income since 1965 has been much faster than the growth in material income in essentially all countries, but especially in less developed nations.

Towards smarter aid

Lex Reiffel of Brookings writes in The Globalist:

The MCC appears to be drifting toward “more of the same.” Its first four country programs look too much like projects administered by the World Bank and USAID.

Read his full report from Brookings or see our own page on Aid Effectiveness.

Is branding key to generating wealth in the developing world?

In his new book, Brand New Justice, Simon Anholt argues that better understanding the nature and value of brands is essential for poor nations wanting to capitalize on Globalization - since wealth is created on “the last mile” of the commercial process. In his own words:

Using Doing Business to pick stocks

Forbes have been using 'Doing Business' as a stock-picking guide:

We singled out the five countries, excluding the U.S., that scored above average in all the "Doing Business" criteria. Then we mined our databases for ten reasonably valued, U.S.-listed stocks issued by companies hailing from those countries.

The future of money transfers

Kenyan blogger Bankelele writes about the cash remittance business in Kenya:

Past: Surprisingly, Western Union and Moneygram, which have been recording growing volumes and signing up new banks (like KCB) every month, already represent the past in money remittance. The reason for this is the cost of the transfer... about 15% of amount transferred...

The wisdom of Google

Saw the New Yorker's James Surowiecki yesterday, speaking about his book, The Wisdom of Crowds. He praised the effectiveness of 'prediction markets'. For example, Hewlett Packard (internally) sold assets that paid off depending on how big next quarter's printer sales turned out to be.