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Zach Colby
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I found our discussion on microfinance very enlightening and interesting. While I new what microfinance was, I did not know very much about it. There were many very intriguing facts and tidbits about the nuances of this concept. As Stephen brought up, I was most surprised by what microcredit money was spent on. In my cynical view, I would have thought that microfinance lump sums be spent in a less responsible way and in fact they are spent more responsibly than if no money had been received. This reminded me of the point brought up in Professor Casey's paper last week that seemed to go against the theoretical framework. Originally it was thought that farmers with higher income would take more risk but in fact they are less likely to take risks. Similarly, families with more income from microcredit and not engaging in negative consumption behaviors.
I really enjoyed the Schultz and Lewis piece. They won a Nobel prize because of the way that they thought outside the box and challenged what everyone else in their field had though. The discussion really makes you think and makes you wonder what else we are getting wrong right now and where are there easy fixes that we are missing. The text reminded me of a discussion we recently had in Professor Goldsmith's Econ 235 class. We read a piece about and discussed rational addiction theory. This theory challenges what you or I might think about an addicts behavior. We used the stark example of a heroin addict continuing to use and using their money to buy drugs instead of taking care of their kids. Now to you and I this probably seems like a completely irrational decision but when examined a little closer we see that it is not. Addictive goods shift their preference curves out after first use and continue to shift out and shift in their substitutes. Now this doesn't necessarily relate exactly to Schultz and Lewis' thoughts but the neoclassical way of thinking really makes us reexamine problems, the way Schultz and Lewis frame the economics of being poor.
Toggle Commented Oct 30, 2014 on Econ 280 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
As many above have stated, this article talks about child labor in a light that it is not often painted in in popular culture or media. The rural farm based labor is the biggest scale on which the problem exists though. This article reminded me of a discussion we had earlier in the year and a point that Bennett brings up. Families have their children work because they immediately benefit from it, whether that be through wages or productivity on a subsistence farm. Perhaps the solution here is to have all these farmers take Micro Theory and learn about present and future value decisions. More seriously, I think subsidization is a feasible and probably the most applicable solution. Bennett gave another good example here. I had not heard of Mexico's "Oportunidades" before this reading, but it sounds as if it is a pretty successful program and a great real life example of Udry's proposed solution. Many people above have talked about the impracticality or unsuccessfulness of subsidies in developing nations, but I think that it theoretically is the best solution and that people should not be letting the perfect get in the way of the good.
Toggle Commented Oct 22, 2014 on 280 Paper for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I agree with Krugman and many of the bloggers above that models are very important to use in understanding the phenomenons of our world. Models can tell us so much and really help to paint pictures of how theory explains real world outcomes. As many have already stated, every situation is unique and complicated, but most situations can also be explained by a simple model. When thinking about the success that models can have I remembered reading an excerpt of Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, State and Utopia" for Pov 101. Now reading Nozick made me think A LOT and really question how I thought about a lot of things. In debating in favor of Nozick I imagined a completely abstract and theoretical world where conditions of models do hold, and in this world models would be successful and policies would be easy to create. Alas, this is not the case in our very complicated world but it does prove a point that there is some truth behind models. I know there aren't too many true anarcho-capitalists or objectivists out there but models can be pretty darn effective.
I agree with Krugman and many of the bloggers above that models are very important to use in understanding the phenomenons of our world. Models can tell us so much and really help to paint pictures of how theory explains real world outcomes. As many have already stated, every situation is unique and complicated, but most situations can also be explained by a simple model. When thinking about the success that models can have I remembered reading an excerpt of Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, State and Utopia" for Pov 101. Now reading Nozick made me think A LOT and really question how I thought about a lot of things. In debating in favor of Nozick I imagined a completely abstract and theoretical world where conditions of models do hold, and in this world models would be successful and policies would be easy to create. Alas, this is not the case in our very complicated world but it does prove a point that there is some truth behind models. I know there aren't too many true anarcho-capitalists or objectivists out there but models can be pretty darn effective.
I agree with Krugman and many of the bloggers above that models are very important to use in understanding the phenomenons of our world. Models can tell us so much and really help to paint pictures of how theory explains real world outcomes. As many have already stated, every situation is unique and complicated, but most situations can also be explained by a simple model. When thinking about the success that models can have I remembered reading an excerpt of Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, State and Utopia" for Pov 101. Now reading Nozick made me think A LOT and really question how I thought about a lot of things. In debating in favor of Nozick I imagined a completely abstract and theoretical world where conditions of models do hold, and in this world models would be successful and policies would be easy to create. Alas, this is not the case in our very complicated world but it does prove a point that there is some truth behind models. I know there aren't too many true anarcho-capitalists or objectivists out there but models can be pretty darn effective.
I agree with Krugman and many of the bloggers above that models are very important to use in understanding the phenomenons of our world. Models can tell us so much and really help to paint pictures of how theory explains real world outcomes. As many have already stated, every situation is unique and complicated, but most situations can also be explained by a simple model. When thinking about the success that models can have I remembered reading an excerpt of Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, State and Utopia" for Pov 101. Now reading Nozick made me think A LOT and really question how I thought about a lot of things. In debating in favor of Nozick I imagined a completely abstract and theoretical world where conditions of models do hold, and in this world models would be successful and policies would be easy to create. Alas, this is not the case in our very complicated world but it does prove a point that there is some truth behind models. I know there aren't too many true anarcho-capitalists or objectivists out there but models can be pretty darn effective.
I agree with Krugman and many of the bloggers above that models are very important to use in understanding the phenomenons of our world. Models can tell us so much and really help to paint pictures of how theory explains real world outcomes. As many have already stated, every situation is unique and complicated, but most situations can also be explained by a simple model. When thinking about the success that models can have I remembered reading an excerpt of Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, State and Utopia" for Pov 101. Now reading Nozick made me think A LOT and really question how I thought about a lot of things. In debating in favor of Nozick I imagined a completely abstract and theoretical world where conditions of models do hold, and in this world models would be successful and policies would be easy to create. Alas, this is not the case in our very complicated world but it does prove a point that there is some truth behind models. I know there aren't too many true anarcho-capitalists or objectivists out there but models can be pretty darn effective.
I thought this paper was a great supplement to our class discussion on Tuesday. Tracing the history of growth and development theory throughout the last 75 years really helped give us an idea as to how ideas evolve and how no theory or model can ever perfectly represent the real world. Rodrik basically states this in a much longer, more thought out and intelligent way. There is no perfect prescription no one action we can take or institution we can implement that will solve all the problems in the developing world. I think we can also link this back to our discussion of Duflo, as many people above me have. There is no x causes y or y causes x, rather the variables of the world are all interfunctional and incredibly complex. This also reminds me of a paper I just read in Professor Goldsmith's Econ 235 class. It was a paper by Janet Currie regarding the advantages of preschooling and academic intervention for disadvantaged kids. There were tons of different experiments and Currie's review of the literature came to the basic conclusion that there is no "magic bullet" for successful intervention. What everything I'm saying boils down to is that we can model every real world problem we want but most of the time it is going to take a variety of efforts to truly solve the issue.
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2014 on ECON 280 Paper at Jolly Green General
I agree with HeeJu that parental education attainment is a very interesting variable choice. She also mentioned that income level could be used. I would be skeptical at both these choices although there probably aren't too many better measures. Our world, especially less developed countries, is dominated by mostly patriarchal structures, so I would be curious as to how much of an effect this would have on "power" in the house. Who receives the income does matter but I would argue that they don't necessarily have the power in the house. This especially matters for the example of women receiving checks and being more likely to spend them on child education or healthcare. This isn't necessarily a matter of power but could be husband simply not bothering to deal with how the check is spent or it being made use of while he is out of the house. Education is also a very difficult variable to control for, because as people above have said, a year of education can have a ton of value or little to no value, depending on the specific situation.
Toggle Commented Sep 24, 2014 on ECON 280 paper #1 at Jolly Green General
I liked HeeJu's points regarding why the impoverished would spend money on alcohol or tobacco and also not feeling the need to increase food spending when overall income goes up. She also brought up another point, one that I think is of utmost importance and that is quality of education. I don't just mean quality of public schools but also teaching people in general how to deal with low to very low incomes. I know there are many programs in place, both governmental and NGOs that help try to educate the poor or disadvantaged. They can be taught how to begin the climb out of poverty but these programs are often disjointed or simply not large enough to have an effect on an international scale. That said, it's not like I have any groundbreaking ideas as to where we could go from here, but as we learned in class on Tuesday, education and health driven reform is what leads to real results down the road.
Toggle Commented Sep 17, 2014 on 280 reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
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Sep 17, 2014