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Blog Profile / Chris Blattman's Blog


URL :http://chrisblattman.com/
Filed Under:Academics / Political Science
Posts on Regator:2332
Posts / Week:7.1
Archived Since:July 25, 2008

Blog Post Archive

“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

Social engineering in the Congo

Do participatory development projects make local politics more democratic? A new paper by Humphreys, Sanchez de la Sierra, and Van der Windt: Since the 1990s, participatory development has become a favored model for delivering international aid. The huge growth of … Continue reading ? The post Social engineering in the Congo appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Links I liked

Pranab Bardhan on what Piketty means for India (among other comments on the book) Hand-painted scenes from Miyazaki films Stephen Hawking versus John Oliver Imperialism in North America, visualized The post Links I liked appeared first on Chris Blattman.

“It’s raining men! Hallelujah?”

That’s the title of a new paper by Pauline Grosjean and Rose Khattar, arguing that conservative gender norms persist: We document the implications of missing women in the short and long run. We exploit a natural historical experiment, which sent large numbers … Continue reading ? The post “It’s raining men! Hallelujah?” appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Under what circumstances would your Google-driven car choose to kill you?

In 1967, the philosopher Philippa Foot posed what became known at “The Trolley Problem”.  Suppose you are the driver of a runaway tram (or “trolley car”) and you can only steer from one narrow track on to another; five men are working … Continue reading ? The post Under what circumstances would your Google-driven car choose to kill you? appeared first on Chris Blattman.

“Knowledge is to information as art is to kitsch”

In the digital universe, knowledge is reduced to the status of information. Who will any longer remember that knowledge is to information as art is to kitsch—that information is the most inferior kind of knowledge, because it is the most … Continue reading ? The post “Knowledge is to information as art is to kitsch” appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Video of the day: 400 years of US territorial expansion

The music is a nice touch. Presumably it drowns out the screams of the oppressed and dying. [My first thought: I probably shouldn't write that in a year when I'm applying for citizenship. My second thought: Actually, I'm confident this … Continue reading ? The post Video of the day: 400 years of US territorial expansion appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Quantitative versus qualitative measurement, the contest

If you run a survey of drug use, prostitution, domestic violence, rioting, or crime, who would believe this self-reported data? No one. If you work in one of the handful countries with reliable, available data, then you might be able … Continue reading ? The post Quantitative versus qualitative measurement, the contest appeared first on Chris Blattman.

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