As a young medical student in the 70s, I dreamt of becoming a surgeon. Everything about surgery fascinated me: the long hours, the sleepless nights, the unmistakable adrenalin rush and sense of satisfaction of saving a human life.
Three decades later, I had reached the pinnacle of my success. I had a reputation as an accomplished and compassionate surgeon and was wooed by fancy private hospitals with even fancier pay packages and perks. I selected the best the city could offer: a plush corporate hospital with the best equipment and where operating was a luxury itself.
L. van Kempen has written an in-depth review in the Journal of Economics of the Bank's Policy Research Report titled 'Localizing Development.' Kempen finds that 'evidence catches up with the narrative.'
The Economist conducts a poll of young Indians, and concludes that young Indians are fed up and desperate for change.
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One of my favourite Oxfam programmes is called (rather arcanely) ‘Within and Without the State’(WWS). It is trying to build civil society and good governance in some pretty unpromising environments – Yemen, South Sudan, Afghanistan and OPTI (Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel).
- For Valentine’s Day: of course there is a literature on this – from PhD comics comes abstracts of real papers such as “Me Do Wu My Val: The Creation of Valentine’s Day in Accra, Ghana”; and “Influence of Valentine’s Day and Halloween on Birth Timing”.
- Cyrus Samii on too much concern about “representativeness” and “generalizability”.
As developing countries increasingly experiment with "industrial policies," a big question is how to get the incentives right for these policies to work. The JKP recently spoke with an expert on the topic – Mushtaq Khan, Professor of Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
On Friday last week I attended the final session of the United Nations Open Working Group – the body tasked with putting together global development priorities to replace the Millennium Development Goals. The session covered rule of law, along with peace and governance.
- Law and Regulation
Almost everyone has heard of the annual International Women’s Day, but have you heard of the Arab Women’s Day? Although I grew up in Syria, I had not heard of it. When I mentioned this day to my family and friends living throughout the MENA region, most them responded with a confused: “You mean Mother’s Day?”
Governments (and donors alike) don’t like dealing with informality. It’s messy, dirty, essentially unmeasurable, and its character varies dramatically. From one industry to the next. From one city to the next. It’s also beset with fiendishly difficult problems – informal firms are often household enterprises (employing mainly family labour, and not hired labour). Thus, they have to make impossible trade-offs between production and consumption.
And yet – the size and the importance of the informal sector in most countries shows no signs of abating. On average the informal share of employment ranges from 24 per cent in transition economies, to 50 per cent in Latin America and over 70 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa. In India, employment within the informal sector is growing, while that in the formal sector remains stagnant. Yet - very little is known about the relationship, whether symbiotic or competitive, between the two sectors.
In a new paper, I notice that in India formal firms tend to cluster with informal firms – especially in industries like apparel, furniture and meal-making. The firms coagglomerate not only so that they can buy from and sell to one another – but importantly, also because formal firms tend to share equipment with and transfer technical knowledge to their informal counterparts. Such technical and production spillovers are found in clusters of domestic-foreign, exporter-non-exporter and high-tech-low-tech firms. It is no surprise then that formal and informal activity could be complementary. Informal can also be an outlet for entrepreneurial activity, especially in places with high levels of corruption, or where formal firms are often mired in complex regulations.