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  • Reply to: Seven ways to think like a 21st-century economist   1 month 1 week ago

    Thank you, Phil, for nicely summarizing the Kate Raworth’s seminar. You have captured both the spirit and content of her talk in a very elegant and eloquent manner. I have two observations for those who may be concerned by Raworth’s view of econ 101.

    1. The economics discipline has expanded beyond mathematics and statistics to include many other disciplines such as agriculture, environment, health, education, behavioral sciences (psychology and sociology), gender, peace, and development. The good news is that there are more econ graduates coming out of graduate schools specialized in these topics (aka applied economics) compared to graduate students in pure basic economics. Development economists have shied away from Chicago school ideals and Adam Smith’s invisible hand when dealing with sticky economic problems in developing countries. Having said this, I do agree with Raworth’s argument that econ 101 should have a broader foundation and larger context.

    2. There are more women economists emerging out of graduate schools than ever before. This may have a profound impact on the profession in two possible ways. First, women and men think and analyze development issues differently. Women often think in relative terms, while men often think in absolute terms. While men focus on profit maximization, women consider profit maximization as only a necessary condition and not a sufficient condition. As Raworth rightly argues, profit at the cost of humanity is worthless. Doughnut economics is perhaps more appealing to women than it is to men. Second, women are less likely to be dogmatic. A less dogmatic approach allows economists to accommodate alternate views as well as different disciplines in the analysis and make the results more practical.

    So there is hope, either way. Those who missed the seminar may want to watch her TED Talk:

  • Reply to: The global commodities outlook in nine charts   1 month 3 weeks ago

    Thanks for the valuable info.

  • Reply to: The global commodities outlook in nine charts   1 month 3 weeks ago

    Very useful charts and data!

  • Reply to: eMBeDding behavioral insights in development projects – an update   1 month 3 weeks ago

    Dear Leonard

    Thank you for your comment. Could not agree more, mental models are indeed key for how we interpet the world and therefore how we make decisions. You correctly point to the need to do better diagnostics in the context we work to better understand what those belief systems are so we can come up with solutions that take them into consideration.

  • Reply to: eMBeDding behavioral insights in development projects – an update   2 months 3 days ago

    For the first time, I can see World Bank becoming innovative by adopting a behavioral approach to development. Local experts need to buy into the idea of helping communities and individuals to learn and change behavior by evaluating positive and negative cultural norms and values which influence their decisions and choices in development activities. There are too many technologies and practices which communities have either ignored or simply talk about but do not adopt to change their situation. Eating habits and farming practices (Monoculture) are a case in point. These behaviors and practices are contributing to malnutrition, food price volatility, thin markets for traditional foods, poor land use and worsening of climate change effects. Whole communities and influential individuals need to change their mindsets, behavior and role in development investments.