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The overarching message that resonates from Esther Duflo’s piece is the interconnectedness between economic development and women’s empowerment. Going along with this point, Duflo points out that although economic development and women’s empowerment are “mutually reinforcing” in creating equality between women and men, these two areas need to be targeted by public policy in order for them to be effective. The empowerment of women helps accelerate development because it reduces poverty on the whole. Throughout this term we have come to learn that the reduction of poverty directly leads to the development of a country. The reduction of poverty allows households to be better equipped to withstand crisis. Given the fact that in under developed countries women are often treated as secondary in the household, crises, in whatever form they take, disproportionately harm women more than men. Therefore, by increasing households ability to withstand these crisis, the well-being of women rises as a whole. The other piece of this article I found extremely compelling was Duflo’s dissection of the connection between the amount of opportunities for women in the labor market and their treatment in the household. Duflo argues that when women have fewer opportunities in the labor market compared to men, a perception is created that they do not need to be as strong and healthy as men. This furthermore leads to a stigma where male education takes priority over female education. The argument presented creates the logical conclusion that raising the amount of employment opportunities outside the home for women in developing countries will cause not only them to value education more highly, but also cause men to value the education of women. If ample opportunities present themselves to women, their education and well-being will become more highly valued thus leading to better equality between men and women. In light of this reasoning, Duflo advocates for policy to be focused directly on increasing employment opportunities for women.
Toggle Commented Oct 18, 2018 on ECON 280 for Friday at Jolly Green General
Hirschman’s article pertaining to the historical path of development economics proved to be an excellent follow up to our discussions from this past week. His discussion of various different theories and models, many of which that we have touched on this week, as an informal timeline for the history of development economics helped me understand the topic, but more importantly, uncovered difficulties within the subject that extend to general economic thinking as a whole. His two points that resonated most following this reading were his discussion of African Maps as a mirror for historical economic thinking and his analysis of models as a whole within economics. Hirschman’s comparison of economic thinking to the evolution of African map making helped illustrate the fundamental issue of validity within theories. Although the development models initially gained traction within the world of economics, as “the standards of rigor and logic” improved, theories that could be proven by this so called logic were accepted and many other ideas that failed to fit this validity mold fizzled out of relevancy. These events reveal human characteristics about trust and beliefs. This rise and fall of development economics also reflects the idea that being early is the same thing as being wrong. Whether or not the ideas surrounding development economics were correct upon their inception, if the general economic body couldn’t grasp the concepts within their current framework and understanding, the ideas could not be accepted. Hirschman’s commentary on models similarly stuck with me. The reason I enjoyed this part of the paper is because it reflects some of my thoughts surrounding certain aspects of economics. Although models can be extremely effective in helping understand trends within societies, the oversimplification necessary to make them accurate makes them far less applicable than many people believe them to be. The simplifications made to create effective models by no means mirror the complexities of the real world. So long as people keep that within their head when studying and applying models, no severe issues should arise.
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2018 on ECON 280 for Friday at Jolly Green General
The article written by Wang, Wong, and Yip effectively relays many of the points we have discussed over the past couple weeks. The nations which experienced large economic growth were those where people were able to exercise their human capabilities in productive manners. This begins with “the establishment of correct institutions and individualized incentives for better access to capital markets, international trade, and industrialization.” The focus on technology not only improves resources within the country, but gives citizens the freedoms to help develop and progress the economy. On the other end of the spectrum, the countries that have experienced the lowest economic growth all feature unstable governments. Unfortunately, many of the African countries that experience corrupt governments are those who have only gained their freedom within the past 100 years. This fundamentally made it difficult for their citizens to succeed because their capabilities are restrained by the lack of effective policy and leadership. One might argue that people in some of the slow growth countries might have more actual freedom than people in China, and that raises the difficult question of whether or not it is better to have a very controlling government that limits freedoms, but provides a better society, or if it is better to have a hands off government that lets people have the freedom they want but seldom helps progress the country. There is no clear cut answer, but based on our conversations, and the idea that freedom is the ability to live the life you choose and value, I feel that it is vital for the government to become involved in policy. Furthermore, as we read, this policy needs to focus on general industrialization and technological progression as opposed to focusing on one export. This proved detrimental in many slow growth countries that saw their main export to fall in price.
Toggle Commented Sep 20, 2018 on ECON 280 for Friday at Jolly Green General
In his article “From Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals,” Jeffery Sachs effectively explains both the purposes, issues and benefits of MDGs and SDGs as well as the differences between the two development strategies. A key aspect of transitioning from MDGs to SDGs that Sachs mentions is the scope of the countries that the two different goal systems involve. The movement from MDGs, which “were targets mainly for poor countries,” to SDGs which eliminate this socioeconomic better and rather focus on “what all countries together should do for the global wellbeing of this generation and those to come.” This stands as one of the most critical impacts of SDGs because in light of the environmental crisis Sachs mentions, such as greenhouse emissions and deforestation to name a few, the universal involvement targeted by SDGs should yield impactful results in comparison to the MDGs which targeted the poor. The four SDGs Sachs discusses in his article not only strive to provide all the basic and governmental needs to all people, but additionally seek to make all societies conducive to the peoples’ wellbeing and capabilities. These three SDGs help facilitate the other SDG of improving on environmental issues. The interaction of the four SDGs, as well as the universal appeal of these SDGs regardless of wealth, stand as strong goals for the future. One final aspect of SDGs that I believe to be critical in their success is the inclusion of periodic milestones that MDGs failed to utilize. The 15 year intermediate milestones Sachs utilizes for the SDGs would allow the public to not only see the benefits more first hand, but also periodically modify the strategies to best achieve the goals.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2018 on ECON 280 at Jolly Green General
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Sep 13, 2018