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Libby C
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Udry defines child labor as "the sacrifice of the future welfare of the child in exchange for additional current income" (1). According to Udry, child labor is not only a symptom of poverty but also a cause of future poverty. This idea echoes the vicious cycle theme we've encountered this system. I was taken aback by the International Labor Office estimates that 1 in 10 children were working full time in 2000. An "income effect" occurs when increases in household income are associated within increases in schooling enrollment. Udry explains, however, that this is not always the case. When increases in household income result from increases in wages from child labor, a "substitution effect" can take place. The cost of sending your child to school is higher as the household will have to sacrifice that child's wages and forego consumption if they choose to enroll the child in school. The increase in child labor can have an intergenerational effect, creating a "poverty trap" for future generations. Child labor creates long term consequences for immediate benefits. This problem reflects the issues presented in "The Economic Lives of the Poor". It is difficult for poor households to save and often impossible for them to borrow making any long-term planning or investments in the future difficult to envision and to execute.
Toggle Commented Nov 7, 2013 on Corel Office Document at Jolly Green General
This paper reinforces the theme of our discussions that there is no "magic bullet" that will alleviate poverty. In light of our discussion of randomized trials on Tuesday, the findings of this paper are particularly compelling. The problem is not that microfinance doesn't work, but rather microfinance may work in different ways than expected. The effects of microfinance on women's empowerment, for example, appear to slight. Microfinance, however, offers significant benefits to households and wage earners who lack economic stability and are susceptible to shocks. In some settings, microfinance increased the number of businesses. In others, the volume of business conducted. I think the article posed interesting questions as to whether microfinance should be targeted to specific groups, particularly women.
Toggle Commented Oct 24, 2013 on Microfinance (econ 280) at Jolly Green General
I enjoyed reading Rodrik's discussion of growth theory. I particularly enjoyed the concept that neoclassical economic principles need not be discredited when considering growth in developing countries, but rather interpreted and applied to particular cases and institutions. The presentation of the paper, briefly citing the historical growth scenarios of different countries, provided support for Rodrik's claim that orthodox and unorthodox methods can be combined to achieve growth. The most important concept that I took away from this paper was the need for local knowledge when developing sets of policies to spur growth. Rodrick states "Successful reforms are those that package sound economic principles around local capabilities, constraints and opportunities." Recommendations from economic models can not be applied strictly without consideration of local environments and characteristics of institutions. Policy makers should apply economic principles in context to create a lasting approach to growth that works for their society and economy.
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2013 on Growth Strategies - Econ 280 at Jolly Green General
I agree with several of the earlier comments noting the author's choice of the word "temptation" regarding spending on goods other than food. As the author notes, many people living on less than $1/day do not work in the same job for extensive periods of time and seem to avoid specialization. Thus, it is not surprising that they do not choose to save for a piece of equipment or a machine. In order to justify saving for an expensive item of physical capital, an individual would need to have a significant amount of confidence in their future means of employment. They would need to commit to foregoing the additional items they consume in the present, items which likely bring a significant amount of psychological benefits. I feel the article does not fully recognize the positive psychological benefits the individuals likely experience as a result of their ability to choose how they consume a portion of their limited income.
Toggle Commented Sep 12, 2013 on Economic Lives of the Poor at Jolly Green General
Gas prices, as the article points out, have an "unrivaled hold" on the public's attention. Because of this, I would expect them to have a greater impact on voting than what the article describes. The statistics that the article cites, however, really clarify the disparity. Even though gas prices are constantly in the public's attention, they are not the most pressing issue for American voters. Voters can attempt to adjust to changes in gas prices by modifying their behavior and spending. Not all problems facing voters can be alleviated by changes in behavior. It makes sense for voters to give greater consideration to broader issues and issues individual politicians can actually influence.
I find it unusual that Lindzen spent most of his time discussing the social problem of "science illiteracy" and the media, instead of providing evidence that actually supported his conclusion regarding CO2 emissions. It seems like his claims were very inconsistent. If the issue of public understanding is one of misinformation, education is an obvious solution. Yet, Lindzen only recommended reading one publication. I also found it strange that Lindzen dismissed Schrag's ideas because he is a marine scientist. The study of climate change is extremely interdisciplinary. I'd be interested in finding out if Lindzen's conclusion that there are no benefits to emission reductions is supported solely by climate science, or if he considered any potential economic or health effects.
I think Knowlton's discussion is both effective and compelling. She manages to relay the harsh reality of the state of coral ecosystems without sounding too extreme. I never realized the extent of biodiversity in coral ecosystems. With so many species unidentified, its seems like the loss of coral ecosystems also leads to a huge loss in potential for research in science and medicine. Even if those losses are impossible to quantify, it seems absurd to ignore the potential benefits for present and future generations.
I agree that this article is both disturbing and frustrating. There doesn't seem to be any positive solution to the issue. The MSC of mining is extremely high, but, as the article points out, any attempts to shut the mining down would likely force it underground. With even less oversight, the hazards would only get worse. I found the fact that the treatment for lead poisoning is only effective when there is no exposure to the toxin particularly concerning. I'd like to know more about the effectiveness of the Artisanal Gold Council's work in Zamfara. Particularly, if moving processing out of homes limits children's exposure enough that medical treatment is helpful.
Libby C is now following Caseyj
Feb 14, 2012