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Bridget Bartley
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The fact that the relationship between higher aid amounts and lower poverty levels loses significance when poverty levels are measured by income levels tells me two things. The first thing this makes me think of is statistical significance versus clinical significance. It is a differentiation that is made in econometrics, and it is one I have revisited this semester on my final empirical paper in Professor Shester's US ECON History Course. Some of the results on my research paper aren't statistically significant, but that does not mean there is no significance at all. It is important to remember that these relationships still might mean something. However, the second lesson these findings teach me brings me back to POV 101. We spent a lot of that year attempting to define poverty. Though few conclusive decisions of what poverty actually is were agreed upon, it is easy to tell from from research that income alone is not the right way to define it. So even though these results lost significance, that may not even mean much. Yet, it means even less once the reader realizes potentially the reason for it losing significance which is based on the definition of poverty.
Toggle Commented Nov 13, 2020 on Last Post of the Year at Jolly Green General
This world bank paper provided a lot of interesting topics to think about. There were facts I already knew about. The returns to investment in education being greater to women, to people in low-income countries were things we have already discussed in class. They make sense to me too. What I had while reading and am still having trouble understanding is the fact that private sector workers exhibit higher returns to investment in education than those in the public sector. Maybe I am misinterpreting, but does this also mean that public school teachers and employees may not be receiving as much return on an investment in the schooling that they are in charge of? I have a hard time interpreting exactly what this fact means and would appreciate discussing it more in class. Does this fact lend itself toward greater investment in private education? Yeah, I am just really confusing myself trying to understand. Other than that, I have a hard time reading this knowing that people in our society today pass legislature that does not support these ideals. With greater economic returns to investment in education for women and low-income communities, why can’t those who are so focused on economic success agree to policies that support such ideals? Or at least, what is their argument against doing so? How new are these statistics? Is it information that has not yet been distributed to the public at large? I am having a hard time understanding this as well.
Toggle Commented Oct 22, 2020 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
On page 1057, Duflo writes “If women do not work outside the home, there may be a perception that they do not need to be as strong and healthy and that they do not need a formal education.” This sentence was really hard hitting in my opinion. Up until now, we have talked about the interconnectedness of all of the Millennial Development Goals which later led to the Sustainable Development Goals. We have talked about the Multidimensional Poverty Index that has many overlapping and intertwining characteristics to its measurement methodology. Duflo ties this all together beautifully. Off the bat, she points out that “There is a bidirectional relationship between economic development and women’s empowerment defined as improving the ability of women to access the constituents of development—in particular health, education, earning opportunities, rights, and political participation” (1053). From there on out, the multidimensional connections she makes continue on. Upon finishing this reading, I mainly wonder if Duflo herself is seen as less superior to male economists? Despite her groundbreaking work, does she still face gendered inequalities in her field?
Toggle Commented Oct 8, 2020 on Duflo for Friday at Jolly Green General
The first thing that stood out to me from this article was the mention of South Korea's economic development surge while its political sphere was led by a militaristic government that rose to power through a coup. It reminds me of many other discussions I have heard in the past few months. When discussing countries reopening after the inevitable covid shut downs, it seems as though the major defense for the US's incredibly slow resurgence is our immense freedom. They'll say the only reason that China was so quick to reopen economically was their authoritarian regime that forced their people to behave a certain way in following necessary regulations. Meanwhile, American governor's were entitled to NOT ALLOW their municipal and local leaders and mayors to mandate masks. Anyhow, I really enjoyed the paragraph on page 11 that wrote of "the end of some of the measures to control foreign exchange" that came with democratization. Though South Korea's militaristic government was able to develop their economy immensely as they had a lot of control over many things in the country, democratization seemed to bring with it plenty of things that, in Sen's opinion, made them immensely further developed. And, as we are seeing today, this democratic country continues to thrive. South Korea's economic reopening after covid occurred in a much more timely manner than our own.
Toggle Commented Sep 17, 2020 on Miracle on the Han for Friday at Jolly Green General
This article reminded me perfectly of all the economics elective courses I have taken on my (very pov & env heavy) track for my economics major. Through introduction to sustainable development, economics of social issues, poverty & food insecurity, environment and natural resource economics, plus more, theories have continually driven so many of our conversations. Every now and then we do put pen to paper and model out a relationship we are talking about, but those models even are extremely flexible. I’m immediately reminded of our midterm exam last semester for ECON 255. So many people’s answers were different, yet they were all right for the most part. While the models do in fact help solidify the ideas and principles being discussed and are necessary, I appreciate their fluidity throughout ideas and thought processes. The mapmaking analogy really helped solidify to me how nicely my trip on the economics track has been. I may not be the strongest economist among my peers, but I understand what I need to, and I can now say that I understand economic modeling more than I ever did before.
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2020 on Krugman for Friday at Jolly Green General
Of all the countries resulting on the list under the 4.2 Development Laggards, seeing a country like Greece really threw me for a loop. When I think of Greece, I think of destination vacations, Mamma Mia!, and dozens of Pinterest pictures I immediately repost. It’s hard to grasp such a country to be lagging in development. Tourism industry can be a good and bad thing. I remember from a summer spent living in Savannah, a tourist dependent city, many residents are left relying on informal jobs in the tourism sector that do not necessarily pay a livable wage. I am sure that Covid and travel restrictions has not helped Greece on its path toward development whatsoever. It hurts me to think of wealthy Americans travelling to such a naturally beautiful country to snap a few Instagram pictures and exploit loads of native Greeks. With many of the other countries listed under 4.2 Development Laggards, ecotourism negatively impacts their populations as well but often in addition to voluntourism. You continue to see religious mission trips to all the countries that are not surprisingly a part of the list of development-lagging countries. I’m sure we all know what voluntourism, but it was just very striking to me that nearly every country that was a part of these results of development-laggards is exploited through ecotourism, voluntourism, or a combination of both plus an immense amount of other negative disproportionately felt impacts.
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2020 on Reading for next Friday at Jolly Green General
Many of my peers have already mentioned the hesitations with relying on countries like China, India, and Brazil for the necessary levels of good governance in attaining the SDGs. Upon reading about the corrupt governments operating in such countries, the necessary good governance seems like wishful thinking. There are some outside forces playing into this that certainly don’t help, though. I’ll step back a bit to help explain what I mean. These past few months have been a time in which I have had a lot of difficult and thought-provoking conversations with someone who I am often uncomfortably disagreeing with, my father. My dad is a regional cement sales manager. The cement and ready-mix industries are some of the heaviest polluters out there. Though they are working to be greener, they still have a long way to go. In many of my disagreements with my dad, I resort to one of the most profound facts I have learned in my combined economics and environmental degree: a reduction in fossil fuels in the US would explicitly promote stronger economic efficiency (thank you econ 255). Like clockwork in such a conversation, my dad would resort to pointing his finger at countries like China and India who are doing so much worse in terms of carbon footprint size. I often hear Donald Trump accompanied by an overwhelming majority of the US government doing the same. Is this what countries holding each other accountable should look like? I feel strongly in thinking that this is not what accountability at such a large level looks like. Pointing fingers is childish and should not be the ways in which strong governments interact with each other, and it certainly isn’t helping to, in this case, reduce anyone’s fossil fuel dependence. I guess strong is an overstatement, but I’m hoping you can catch my drift. Though countries like China, India, and Brazil have the potential to ruin our world’s chances at attaining the SDGs, I don’t know if doubting them is the best way to help this situation. Could incentivizing SDG attainment or even progress towards such a goal prove a better way to go about this? Are there other ways to promote progress towards the SDGs that involve optimism and assistance over hesitation and doubt? Obviously, Sachs thinks these goals are attainable, so what is the harm in holding each other accountable in a more positive way? After all, no country is perfect, especially not our own. Sachs wrote of the necessity for all countries to do their part in working towards the SDGs, and I don’t think its right to point fingers at the countries who seem like they never will.
This class has provided the evidence for me to form my own true political opinions. The greatest lesson I learned throughout this course is that of questioning whether efficiency is enough. With the presentation of this one question, I have been able to think back to many courses I have taken and many class discussions I have been a part of and ask it. It has tied together my academic career and it is a lesson I will take with me into this coming spring term, my final year as an undergraduate student, and whatever else lies ahead for me. In fact, I am hoping that this question will carry me to pursue a job I feel excitement in and to work justly and passionately. For having taught me this lesson, thank you, Professor Casey. And thank you to everyone on the discussions and everyone in section 2 for giving me insightful points to think about. This course was incredible, and I cannot wait to share what I have learned with those who are willing to listen.
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2020 on ECON 255 Final Exam at Jolly Green General
While I enjoyed the John Oliver video immensely and actually learned a lot from it, I find it frustrating that comedians are among the only ones taking a true stand defending proposals such as the Green New Deal. I think back to when Taylor Swift told people to go out and register to vote and within hours, let it be causation or correlation, there was a large spike in voter registration numbers. Celebrities all too often refuse to take apolitical stand out of fear of losing fans. It seems as though even politicians themselves haven't done a sufficient job at explaining the TRUTH behind the Green New Deal, and that leads me to wonder, why? Why is it that a comedy show-host is explaining and disputing these things better than anyone else?
Toggle Commented Apr 15, 2020 on ECON 255: The Green New Deal at Jolly Green General
This article really got me interested in seeing which states had yet to order their residents to stay at home. I couldn't find any news source that were more up to date than Vox's claim of 8 states without Stay-At-Home (SAH) orders, but I looked into the NYT article they linked in claiming that. This article is very interesting as it shows the map of the most recent states to file SAH orders. I found the pattern of movement from the outside inward to be interesting. In general, that makes sense with the population being relatively lower in central states. However, Vox's article find that the size of a population does not really effect their attitudes about social distancing. The argument that income, education, unemployment, social capital, etc. takes me back to most lectures in POV 101. Such qualities of an area tell you a lot about its population. I find it a bit discouraging though. Are we throwing the blame on these people? The question Sharkey poses: "In a divided nation, how do we come together — figuratively, for the time being — to solve collective challenges?" is one that is so complex and needs our country's greatest minds working on how to solve it. I have hope. The article's piece on Virgina just made me giggle. Whether or not society consider's us the south, Governor Northam claimed issuing a stay-at-home order was a matter of semantics. I take this as him figuring we would be bright enough to just act in such a way that the formal order maybe would be unnecessary. It took him hearing about masses on the beach as if all was normal to finally put the formal order in place. I wonder if the states that have yet to file a formal order are just following the national health official's recommendations, or if their leaders are just being ignorant?
I recently saw a tweet and thread of an infographic animation showing the fatality rates among several plagues and pandemics of the past ( While the covid-19 death toll has bot been recently updated (the image shows the counts were as of March 15 ((and who is to know if we will ever get an accurate recording from certain countries))), HIV/AIDS is one of the largest pandemics with size being determined by death tolls. The tweet's caption that started off the thread read something along the lines of 'notice the size differential between covid-19 and HIV/AIDS and then think about the differences in government responses to both illnesses' (a very rough guess as I cannot find the original tweet). Immediately, the thread continued with people responding with comments like 'AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease spread only through blood or semen. Covid-19 is literally spread through the air why would the government respond the same at all??!?!?!' Upon reading it for the firs time, I agreed with these commentators. These are two completely different types of diseases...why the hell would the government respond the same whatsoever? I then continued reading. The original tweeter responded to such comments with something along the lines of 'I am not saying the government should have responded the same way. I was simply pointing out that when a pandemic-sized illness was only affecting a marginalized population, the government did not have a response; they did nothing.' It started to make more sense to me. Nothing was done to fight HIV/AIDS for a long time because it was thought to have only been impacting black homosexual males. After our zoom discussion on Friday, mentioning that cancer alley is not alone, I thought of this example to further prove the marginalization across racial (and in this instance sexual orientation as well) lines. On a similar note, I recall a Vox's Today Explained podcast episode titled "Elizabeth Warren Needs a poster boy" ( Back when Warren was still in the running, it compared what it would take to get the federal government to stand behind her proposed war on Opioids to what it took for the federal government to finally act on AIDS: a poster boy. The podcast episode told the story of Ryan White, a hemophiliac who contracted AIDS from a contaminated blood treatment. He was not gay, and he was not black. It took this innocent boy dying from AIDS-related pneumonia for the public to finally see AIDS in a different light and for the federal government to enact The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resource Emergency (CARE) Act in 1990. It is frustrating how it took a white, heterosexual boy to finally get government action on this pandemic. I think this provides an interesting train of thought in regard to the comparison of coronavirus and HIV/AIDS as well.
I think I may have posted prematurely to writing out all of my thoughts. Is efficiency enough? The question has less collateral damage associated with it in the EPA's ease on air pollutant regulation. With the decrease in air pollution currently being observed, we really aren't (yet) seeing that influx of individuals whose airways and breathing capabilities are negatively impacted. Water...something that every human is still consuming in this world, pandemic or not. It is a staple that, if polluted, can lead to an abundance of health complications in itself. This USA Today article goes into a bit more detail about lead environmentalist's thoughts on the EPA's decision: Within the article, Matthew Davis, a former EPA scientist now with the League of Conservation Voters is quoted saying, "This clear giveaway to corporate polluters for an indefinite period of time will only make public health worse, especially for the low income communities and communities of color suffering the most from toxic pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic." I think this quote speaks a lot for itself.
I keep on asking myself the question: is efficiency enough? Is the EPA's move to decrease pollution enforcement in an effort to keep corporations that pollute in some sort of economic equilibrium? Is that even the EPA's job, though? I am struggling to come to terms with a lot of things going on in the world at this time. This ease on pollution enforcement is something that I am really having trouble wrapping my head around. All anyone is saying these days is 'we need to flatten the curve' or 'social distancing isn't for you, it is for the immunocompromised individuals who can't fend off coronavirus so easily.' How can the EPA be justifying something that can leave society with a greater amount of such compromised individuals? With such sound scientific evidence that polluted air does such a thing? I wonder how things will change if/when air pollution starts to rise from this recent plummet. It is bound to happen at some time, and, like the article mentioned, no one knows the appropriate threshold of particulate matter in the air at which the EPA may want to consider reversing this recent decision. Is something like this a slippery slope?
All three of these articles present sound significant evidence that supports the necessity of enactment of policies regarding the reduction of emissions. These are stats that really do not surprise me atll, simply dissapoint. The fact that knowledge of significant, economic findings of pollution’s detrimental effects on health (from several different angles) is surpassing 20 years upsets me. When will enough be enough? An issue I can not help but to think about in addition to these problems themselves is the way they differentiate among socioeconomic classes. Lower income individuals and families are not only hit harder by such health issues, they are also disproportionately affected by such pollution conditions. That combination frightens me. I know coronavirus has been the talk of the town recently, but the voices of those students who do not have the capability to continue online, those who cannot up and leave campus to go home, among many others are voices that simply are not being heard enough. It is crucial, whether it be in approaching a global pandemic such as coronavirus or the global detriment to health that exists because of pollution, to create solutions that are feasible for all and that are really helping all. I do not have any specific suggestions for such types of encompassing solutions at the moment, but I do believe in the necessity for them.
Toggle Commented Mar 12, 2020 on 3 short papers for Friday at Jolly Green General
This paper reminded me of a complete look at the most memorable situations we have modeled. I especially appreciated the large limitations section. The addition of such extensive limitations allow us to realize things that both would have strengthened this paper and potentially weakened it. However, it is brought up and emphasized that measurements are largely underestimated due to these limitations and the vast imperfectness. This emphasis is very important. Last winter, in my ENV 110(?) (intro) course, we were assigned a few documentary viewings and attendance at speakers who came very much centered around this topic. Those that stood out most were viewing The Last Mountain documentary and the speaker that came (unfortunately I can’t remember her name) that presented her photography project on coal mining and its effects on a rural WV community. The Last Mountain was about an area that mountaintop removal had negatively impacted largely, and a coal mining company was planning on performing mountaintop removal on the last mountain in the area. I remember it being very unjust as protestors were fighting to protect the mountain. The speaker that came gave local women cameras to document how coal mining affected their everyday lives. The picture that is ingrained in my mind most is a picture a woman took of her blackened water filter to her house. These areas of the US (these areas being Appalachia) are so disproportionately affected by coal mining and mountaintop removal, it is sad and a large injustice in the accounting of the cost of such practices.
Toggle Commented Mar 6, 2020 on Discussion Paper for Friday at Jolly Green General
The conclusions of this study really made me curious on the effects on the environment in places perhaps with even higher levels of tourism. I immediately think of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’ and impacts on locations stemming from natural phenomena bucket list-esque attractions. Because these places are so highly urged to travel to, are the people who are lucky enough to visit less conscious of their conservation due to the great deal of fame surrounding them? Or, would visitors have an even greater WTP for the conservation of such places? I also wonder if the buzz about such a raise in conservation fee in Belize specifically causally impacted the resulting increase in tourism at all. I am sure the relationship isn’t entirely causal but wonder if there were any of the additional visitors who thought ‘Belize is doing really great things in the realm of conservation, let’s go check it out.’ While I see how, based on the resulting WTP values from the study, Belize could potentially increase the fee to an even greater amount, I hesitate to suggest Belize should increase their PACT fee once again closer to the measured mean of the study. I do believe there is a large bias between what people say they would pay and what they would actually be okay with paying without complaint even with systems in place to try to avoid them. Casey & Schuhmann’s findings interest me in regard to the potential implications of initiating the PACT fee upon arrival to Belize, or the implications of suggesting a donation rather than assigning a mandatory price. Are people more okay with the fee after having a (hopefully) successful trip? What are the repercussions if they refuse to pay it (i.e. how high would WTP be if you could not leave Belize without paying it, maybe?) After a proposed successful trip, would a suggested donation raise more or less money towards Belize’s conservation cause? Or would visitors be more likely to ignore it completely? All of these questions alone could be extensions of this study. They could all also potentially play a role in the best ways to go about funding eco-tourism conservation.
While I support much of what Krutilla discusses in his work “Conservation Reconsidered,” I reflect on his ideas with a few hesitations and questions. On page 782, Krutilla writes of Davidson, Adams, and Seneca’s piece in which they deduce an increase in facilities available for recreational activities in natural environments leads to an abundance of participation and enjoyment of such activities. Such participation and enjoyment are believed, by Davidson, Adams and Seneca, to stimulate future demand of facilities. Krutilla was quick to take this course of thought as word and form his own arguments on conserved spaces around it. At the state the world is in today, I just don’t know if I agree with the concept of an increase in facilities for recreational activities stimulating future demand. Chronic obesity plagues society, and I don’t thing demand for recreational activities in natural environments even slightly budges with fluctuating amounts of facilities available. While Krutilla accepted Davidson, Adams, and Seneca’s findings back in the late 60s, I feel that such propositions about future demand stimulations for natural environment facilities dedicated to recreational activities have become outdated. In another sense, say an increase in facilities were to stimulate future demand. I am just not sure how likely it is that an increase in facilities will even occur in the near future. The attainability of Krutilla’s solutions seems incredible clouded by the current US political administration’s policies. Trump’s attack on National Parks and monuments is enough in itself to lead me to believe that the US is not quite ready to adhere to Krutilla’s suggestions on conservation of natural environments and spaces.
In reading this article, I learned about a lot of extremely specific cases in which Coase was able to get his points across. Instances he wrote of made sense for ideas he was trying to explain and get across to the reader. I will not lie; he had me fully convinced at some points in his paper. After reading, I look back and am constantly reminded of our universal answer to questions like should the government intervene: it depends. Coase wrote of a lot of cases in which it makes sense to discuss “not what shall be done by whom but who has the legal right to do what” (Coase 15). However, in most instances, there are other things to consider. For example, in regard to the case of factory smoke having harmful effects on occupying neighborhood properties: yes, making the factories solely reliable for social costs in turn harms the factories. And, yes, maybe the factory still possesses the legal rights to still produce their goods. However, never was it mentioned the possibility of factories maybe enacting alternative production methods with less smoke emissions at potentially the same output levels. I feel that technological development plays a large role in many of these modern conversations as alternatives emerge and that Coase completely left their impact out of this discussion. While I think there are cases that support Coase’s arguments very strongly, I think there are also cases that should be approached differently. There is never a catch-all solution to issues as multi-faceted as government intervention, and I think that each case should be treated as uniquely intricate as they are in reality.
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Jan 15, 2020