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Friday Roundup: Education, Inequality and Other Links

LTD Editors's picture

While education is one of the cornerstones of development and is enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals, the pay-offs from a Bachelor’s degree or higher do not enjoy the same confidence.  In the wake of the global financial crisis, for some, a college degree is a “lousy investment.” (Read the Daily Beast article to know why). But new data prove otherwise. Adam Looney and Michael Greenstone at the Hamilton Project, through chart illustration, show that “the more income you earn, the more likely you are to have gone to college.” To find out more, read the post “College, still worth it” on the Economix blog here.  While we are still discussing education, here’s another interesting finding from the OECD “Education at a Glance 2012” report. According to the report, a college education not only makes you wise and wealthy, it also makes you healthy. Curious? Read this Economist article to know how.

Food Prices, Structural Change, and MPI

Swati Mishra's picture

After escalating for eight consecutive months, food prices have finally reached an all time high. Due to this unprecedented spike, FAO expects a tightening of the global cereal supply in coming months. According to a Forbes article, "the situation has prompted experts to warn of a global food crisis reminiscent of the spike in food costs that in 2008 caused various riots.”

To add to the concern are high oil prices, which the FAO thinks are a key factor driving the food price increase. However, IMF researchers believe that bad weather and rising demands for bio fuels are also to blame. They also stressed on the fact that it will take years for farmers to increase their production to meet rising demand for food, which “reflects structural changes in the global economy that will not be reversed.”

Ngram, Poverty, Food Prices, and Open Data

Swati Mishra's picture

What can Google Ngram tell us, besides being an intuitive tool? Poverty awareness. “Martin Ravallion of the World Bank traces poverty awareness over the last three centuries and finds we may be at a historical peak”, says Freakonomics in its post ‘Is poverty Awareness at its peak?’. There is more on this interesting finding from Martin Ravallion on VoxEu.

As rising food prices continue to create headlines, Economists and Scientists debate over who the main culprit is on New York Times’ ‘Room for Debate’. For now there is no clear winner, but the consensus is to tackle the situation, as food prices have reached dangerous levels. According to World Bank President Robert Zoellick, the rising food prices ”could hamper political transitions taking place in Egypt, Tunisia, the wider Middle East and Central Asia”. The recently released World Bank ‘Food Price Watch’ estimates that 44 million people have been pushed back to extreme poverty due to the spike in food prices. And as the G20 finance ministers and central bankers prepare to meet in Paris this weekend, the international community calls for their greater role in tackling food price inflation.

Rising food prices, governance, and other stories this week

Swati Mishra's picture

Rising food prices have once again grabbed everyone’s attention. Prices for some basic foods are nearing the 2008 food crisis levels. In the post ‘Soaring Food Crisis’, Paul Krugman analyzes the data from USDA World supply and demand estimates, and blames the current price spikes on global harvest failures. However, the main question still remains unanswered – is another food crisis afoot? Answers to this and some other concerns are addressed in the latest World Bank Flash and also in the World Food Program’s ‘Rising Food Prices: 10 Questions Answered’ piece.

Should 16 year old Africans vote? Why not… Africa has the youngest and fastest growing population in the worldwhere more than 20% are between the ages of 15- 24, argues Calestous Juma in an insightful post on the Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog. Speaking of Africa, in an interesting post, ‘Do informed citizens hold governments accountable? It depends…’ (Governance for Development blog), Stuti Khemani from the World Bank’s Research Group examines the impact of radio access on government accountability in Benin.