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Blog Profile / Chris Blattman's Blog


URL :http://chrisblattman.com/
Filed Under:Academics / Political Science
Posts on Regator:2259
Posts / Week:7.3
Archived Since:July 25, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Who are these people?

There’s a clever Twitter tool, FollowerWonk, that among other things gives you word clouds of the people that follow you (using their bios) and location. Here you are: The post Who are these people? appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Just say no

“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.” That is Warren Buffett, quoted in Farnam Street. I’m always delighted when something I’ve been doing is vindicated by brilliant people. … Continue reading ? The post Just say no appeared first on Chris Blattman.

The civilizing process, evidence from 150 years of British court transcripts

The jury trial is a critical point where the state and its citizens come together to define the limits of acceptable behavior. Here we present a large-scale quantitative analysis of trial transcripts from the Old Bailey that reveal a...Show More Summary

The political fallout of Brazil’s loss

From the Washington Post, governments may fall: Elections are scheduled for later this year, and President Dilma Rousseff, while still ahead in the polls, may have real cause to lament the loss. The Brazilian government hedged its bets with the World Cup, … Continue reading ? The post The political fallout of Brazil’s loss appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Papers I liked

Or, more accurately, titles and abstracts I liked. Islands of high productivity in Africa’s manufacturing sector Why don’t remittances affect growth? Culture, politics, and development How anti-Americanism biases social science research in the Middle East Explaining the revolving door of cabinet … Continue reading ? The post Papers I liked appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Strunk and White were CIA sources

The CIA has an internal writing style guide! Choice bits include: regime: has a disparaging connotation and should not be used when referring to democratically elected governments or, generally, to governments friendly to the United States. Show More Summary

Why is mobile money so prevalent in Africa?

Via @prepaid_africa, this graph on the prevalence of mobile money:I suspect the main reasons are “least regulation” and “least powerful/developed existing banking establishment”, but these are speculative. Anyone know the answer?   The post Why is mobile money so prevalent in Africa? appeared first on Chris Blattman.

“The dream is the truth”

That’s the title of a superb humanitarian blog, equal parts angst, cynicism, and idealism. One excerpt: Somewhere in the offices of almost any humanitarian aid agency–typically on a manager’s wall, or in the entryway, or perhaps displayed prominently in meeting … Continue reading ? The post “The dream is the truth” appeared first on Chris Blattman.

“We Just Ran Twenty-Three Million Queries of the World Bank’s Website”

That’s the title of a new paper by data guerrillas Dykstra, Dykstra, Sandefur: Much of the data underlying global poverty and inequality estimates is not in the public domain, but can be accessed in small pieces using the World Bank’s...Show More Summary

“Graph” of the day: Our solar system without the pesky space

The always perfect xkcd. The post “Graph” of the day: Our solar system without the pesky space appeared first on Chris Blattman.

How aid agencies can find their path in fragile states

In 20 or 30 years, most of the still poor countries will be today’s fragile states. Everywhere else will probably have reached middle income levels. Development economics will become, in part, the study of political stability. Aid programs will face … Continue reading ? The post How aid agencies can find their path in fragile states appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Development must be seized, through struggle. It cannot be given.

My title paraphrases Claude Ake, who was talking about democracy not development. But democracy is just one kind of institutional and organizational capacity. I rank that kind of capacity as the most important thing we know next to nothing about. Show More Summary

Cartooning like a state

Today is the 51st anniversary of the Zone Improvement Plan, a.k.a. the ZIP Code. The Post Office Department launched an advertising campaign in support of the new service, encouraging Americans to adapt the practice of adding five numbers to each mailing … Continue reading ? The post Cartooning like a state appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Video of the day: Every flight taken over the Atlantic in 24 hours

Via Vox, a sight that would make Christopher Columbus eat his hat. You can save yourself some pain by turning off the crappy music. I’d love to see one of these indicating NGO, UN and World Bank development workers flying … Continue reading ? The post Video of the day: Every flight taken over the Atlantic in 24 hours appeared first on Chris Blattman.

“Let them eat cash”: Some post-op reflections

Lately, my research and others have suggested that simple cash handouts might be one of the most effective anti-poverty strategies in the world. Is it time to bring it home? Today I have an Op-Ed in the NY Times on … Continue reading ? The post “Let them eat cash”: Some post-op reflections appeared first on Chris Blattman.

A book that help change the way I think about politics in developing countries

In the 1990s, the average country tipped from unapologetic dictatorship to holding elections. Many nations let parties compete, the free press criticize, and so forth. This has to be one of the most monumental events to happen in myShow More Summary

What’s your summer reading list?

I’m building my list. I’m curious what you’re reading or read and loved. I have a few below, some obvious (in that a couple are trendy bestsellers) but I welcome suggestions. We will be in Spain (specifically, the Pyrenees) for three … Continue reading ? The post What’s your summer reading list? appeared first on Chris Blattman.

What do we know about poverty and violence?

I gave a talk to USAID last week, focusing on “the micro level”. This is an obtuse way of saying “why men rebel”. My short answer: the usual economic incentives matter. But just because you can get a statistically significant estimate … Continue reading ? The post What do we know about poverty and violence? appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Links I liked

You are more likely to be bitten by Luis Suarez (1 in 2,000) than a shark (1 in 3,700,000) U.S. Scientist Offers $10,000 to Anyone Who Can Disprove Manmade Climate Change Rich country policymakers who hope that aid will reduce immigration … Continue reading ? The post Links I liked appeared first on Chris Blattman.

A development economist’s guide to decide what team to root for in the World Cup

From Dean Karlan in the NY Times Upshot blog. The basic principle is simple, drawn from utilitarian principles: Root for the outcome that will produce the largest aggregate increase in happiness. So I came up with a simple index, calculated...Show More Summary

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