This is Olivia Indelicato's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Olivia Indelicato's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Olivia Indelicato
Recent Activity
I thought that this paper served as a great final paper for us to discuss, as it incorporates many of the things we have talked about throughout the course of the semester, such as the numerous ways of measuring poverty, the role of economic growth and development on poverty, and the fact that there is rarely a catch-all solution that works everywhere. I found it incredibly interesting that the literature demonstrates that there is a lack of convergence regarding the empirical results, and that there is still a lot of controversy on the effect of aid on poverty alleviation, which again shows us that injecting aid into countries will not necessarily be helpful and also that there is an inherent endogeneity issue associated with attempting to estimate the effect. More generally, it shows how measuring the relationship between aid and poverty is not straightforward, at all, especially given the various ways of measuring poverty. It seems the author was able to relieve some of the endogeneity issues by creating an instrument including the number of years a country has spent on the Security Council of the United Nations, which was a creative way of expanding the literature to try to get a more conclusive answer than (ECON 280 classic), “It depends.” I’m not sure how successful the author was, although it seems as if the paper took a unique approach that was conveyed convincingly and successfully. As the author explains at the end of the paper, it’s necessary that future research focuses on the impact of more precise dimensions of aid on specific indicators over time. It’s unclear when or if we will ever get a straightforward answer, and I would be surprised if there is ever one to be found, since measuring the impact of aid on poverty is so inherently difficult. It’s incredibly important that economists continue to study this relationship, in order to inform policy makers and aid-giving countries, particularly in light of the SDG of eliminating global poverty by 2030.
Toggle Commented Nov 12, 2020 on Last Post of the Year at Jolly Green General
Like many of my peers have written above, I also struggled with the technicality of this paper, as well as the background section that mentioned many examples from past US international finance history that I am largely unfamiliar with. From my understanding, it appears that past econometric analysis has been lacking in its evaluation of the importance of interest rates in developed countries on capital flows to developing countries. This paper provides evidence that the previous literature has been inaccurate, and has undermined this important relationship. It therefore follows, and makes a lot of sense, that interest rates in developed countries such as the United States play a large role in the capital flows toward developing countries. While it seems the United States has adjusted its interest rates in order to assist the domestic economy, perhaps United States should be more cognizant of its role in developing markets when adjusting monetary policy. This paper was last revised in 1998, and I would be interested to see what the authors would say about the 2008 financial crisis, which began in the United States and quickly spread to all (or nearly all) countries across the globe. I wonder what role that financial crisis would play into their analysis about the role of US and other developed countries’ interest rates on capital flows in developing countries, and whether the crisis hurt developing countries’ capital flows more or less than the other crises, such as the Tequila crisis, that the paper mentions.
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2020 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
The evidence presented in this paper regarding the long-run benefits of CCT’s was absolutely fascinating. Like Didi, I also often wonder how the theoretical approaches to alleviating poverty and increasing human capital should or will work in practice. Reading this paper therefore answered some of those questions, since it’s often easy to make general statements such as “investment in education should be increased” without actually giving an example of how that would play out. This paper therefore provides a concrete example of a way in which not only families receive additional income in the present, but also the children are able to increase educational attainment, and consequently wages and labor force participation in the future. Like many of my peers have indicated in their blogs already, I was particularly interested in the fact that these positive effects of CCT’s are significantly greater for women. I think this demonstrates what we have talked about a lot in class already regarding the importance of investment in human capital for women. I also found it interesting that the actual cash transfers are given to the mother as opposed to the father. I would be interested to know how this money is actually spent in practice, and what specifically the benefits are to giving it to women, and how this would contrast against the ways men would spend the money. I wonder if there are additional positive spillover effects on educational attainment when women are the decision-makers in how the additional income is spent. I also found it interesting that Progresa was shown to decrease work in the agricultural sector by 10-12 percentage points, and what the relationship of this finding would be to the Lewis Two-Sector model. As the cohorts grow older, it will be interesting to see the impact of this decrease in agricultural work on development. Given this evidence of the numerous long-run positive impacts of Progresa, I also wonder what other countries have done or will do in response to these findings. I am curious as to what the level of support is for this program across Mexico, and whether it has been widely supported or faced any criticism. Like Jack explained in his response, the political climate is a huge factor in whether these types of programs are even feasible in certain countries. In light of this evidence, it is clear that similar CCT programs could be incredibly beneficial in both developed and developing countries. As the paper explains, it is important that further empirical analysis be done on the CCT’s in other countries. I would be surprised if the Mexico case is an anomaly, and would like to know to what extent they have worked, or not worked in other countries, and to know if the structure of Progresa is what has led to its incredible success.
Toggle Commented Oct 29, 2020 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
Overall, I was greatly impressed by the comprehensiveness of this paper, although like Stephanie and Mercer have addressed, the large task of attempting to analyze returns to education in over one thousand countries leaves many issues, theories, and complexities unaddressed. I’m interested in the “race between education and technology” that the authors mention but do not go into great detail on. It will be interesting in the context of the 4th IR to see how as technology increases automation, how returns to education will change, both in developing and developed countries. The authors explain that there is evidence to suggest that educational advancements were insufficient to countervail demand due to technological progress, and that the rising inequality implies that technology is winning this race. Surely higher education will change in relation to changing technology, and it will be interesting to see how this effects the “race.” I also found the ways this paper support what we have discussed at length in class about the importance of investment in women’s education as a development priority. It is interesting that the gap between investment in men and women’s education has actually increased over time, and I would be interested to understand mechanisms are behind the reason for the increased gap. I also thought it was interesting that economists are attempting randomized controlled experiments in which they will analyze the lifetime earnings of members of voucher programs, which greatly affected the number of years of schooling. Overall, it is clear that investment in education is vital, and that investment in women’s education is especially vital in developing countries.
Toggle Commented Oct 22, 2020 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
I really enjoyed this paper and the ways it expanded on what we read in Sen’s paper and what we have discussed in class regarding the role of women. It is interesting the ways Duflo recognizes that economic development is not quite enough to achieve equality between men and women. This is obvious, given the differences in wages in developed countries such as the United States, which Duflo recognizes when she writes about the fact that women earn less at all qualification levels everywhere. I was shocked to read about how in many places, development and access to increased technology actually has the possibility of leading to further “missing women,” specifically in the rise of selective abortions in places where pregnancy care has increased. On the other hand, it is clear that increased access to technology in the form of pre-pregnancy and family planning can greatly benefit women in terms of fertility rates. The discussion of family planning vouchers was particularly interesting, and it seems somewhat strange that men are more likely to want more children, and that they would deny their wives from gaining access to contraceptives and birth control. It’s deeply saddening to read about how much the likelihood of using more “discrete” forms of family planning increases if the voucher is given outside the presence of the husband, and the dangers these women face if their husbands discover that they are using them. Additionally, I’ve found the discussion of women being murdered following accusations of “witchcraft” to be of particular interest, especially since I am from the neighboring town to Salem, MA, where the Salem Witch Trials took place. For a long time, the trials were attributed to a fungus in the wheat that caused the women to act strangely, but more recent research has shown that the cause of the trials was the “Little Ice Age” that caused crop failures and contributed greatly to the socioeconomic difficulties at the time. It is horrible, yet not that surprising that similar murders continue to take place today in many developing countries. It seems that in these cases, economic development would play a significant role in decreasing the number of witch killings. In terms of the policy instruments associated with empowering women, I was surprised to read about how women leaders often would not implement policies to empower other women. I also found Duflo’s assertions at the end a bit upsetting that policies will need to empower women at the expense of men, and that they will need to do so for a very long time. Especially given our current administration, it seems that these types of policies are unlikely even in the US. Obviously, I wish that there were one easy fix or “magic bullet” as Duflo writes in her concluding paragraph, but it is clear that not only in developing but also in developed countries, we have a long way to go when it comes to reaching equality between men and women.
Toggle Commented Oct 8, 2020 on Duflo for Friday at Jolly Green General
Epplin’s paper gives a great background to land grant institutions including their history and the opposition the Morril Land Grant Act faced in its early stages. It’s interesting that many people who opposed the implementation of land grant colleges and universities did so not only because they thought it was a “waste of public lands and public money” but also that the land grants would “benefit proponents of abolition relatively more than proponents of slavery.” It makes sense that southern slave owners would oppose land grants, but was surprising to read since I was under the impression that for the most part, land grant universities were agreed upon as beneficial. It’s also important to consider the contributions made by land grant institutions over time. Although I’m not too familiar with their impact over the course of the 1900s, I have witnessed first-hand some of the work being done by researchers at Virginia Tech. During my Economics of the Chesapeake Bay course, my class traveled to a small farm near Williamsburg that worked under VT to identify the most resilient and effective species of wheat and other crops. The farm also had a lot of advanced technologies used to identify any potential issues with the land, and they were able to use various mapping tools to see how effective their land was at growing crops. This type of information is important because it can be applied to other farmers in order to help them increase their crop yield, which is especially important for farmers that rely on their output to make a living. I also thought it was really interesting (and relevant to our work this summer!) at the end of the paper where Eppin described the shortcomings of introductory economics courses, and hope that Econ 180 will help to solve some of the problems he sees.
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2020 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
Like several of my peers, I found Quiggin’s article to be far more optimistic than the World Bank Executive Summary. I think one of the greatest takeaways from the Executive Summary are that temperatures are rising fast and we are already seeing the impacts. What was once a distant problem is becoming a question of only 5 or 6 years. In my geology class, we are currently learning about sustainability and climate change, and I have learned a lot about how it’s not necessarily the temperatures that are the problem- but the effect that increases have had and will continue to have. We’ve also talked a lot in this class and in my geology class about how there is an alarming percentage of our population, and of our political leaders, who still claim that climate change is not real. This relates directly to Quiggin’s quote, where he says “the ultimate barriers to achieving a good life for all... are neither technological or environmental. They are in our beliefs, values, and social institutions.” This made me wonder- when will there finally be a turning point where developed societies realize the impacts of climate change, not only on themselves, but on countries and people living in less developed societies? I think that Quiggin may have been a bit optimistic in saying that things like food are able to be widely distributed across the globe, given our current resources. Our resources may be fine, but what about our environment? It is clear that changes need to be made, and they need to be made quickly in order to stop further damage to the earth and to alleviate the great income and quality of living disparities across the globe.
Toggle Commented Sep 24, 2020 on Readings for Friday at Jolly Green General
I found this paper to be a very interesting case study that is applicable to many discussions we have already had in class. Like Shultz wrote in his paper, a major hindrance to economic development is often political factors. This certainly rang true for South Korea, with its “misallocation of funds, corruption, and political volatility.” What is even more interesting is the way South Korea was able to overcome these hindrances to move past its history as a struggling developing country and into the thriving modern economy it is today. As we have read and talked about at length, many countries often are not so fortunate as to overcome these obstacles, despite continued attempts. An aspect of South Korea’s success story that I found interesting and relevant to several things we read over the summer was the focus that the South Korean government placed on entrepreneurship after 1961, and specifically the ways classic entrepreneurship was manipulated to bolster the economy. As Seth explains, the South Korean government hand-picked business entrepreneurs to work closely with and push them toward success by providing credit and reducing import duties. I wonder why specific entrepreneurs were chosen over others, and if this was considered corruption- since it sounds like many other firms struggled without government assistance and special privileges. It was also surprising to read that many of these companies are ones that are now widely available in the United States today, such as Samsung and Hyundai. Overall, like many of my peers I agree that the South Korean case study is a great example of the fact that there is not one recipe to economic development, and that every country has its own nuances that can either help or hinder economic success.
Toggle Commented Sep 17, 2020 on Miracle on the Han for Friday at Jolly Green General
In light of our conversations this summer, like several of my peers I was excited to see Krugman write about economics as a social science. I think the interdisciplinary aspect of economics, and its status as a social science is essential to understanding the ways that our economic models are somewhat limiting in what they can tell us- the math only gets us so far, in despite of the fact that it becomes so important when attempting to explain things. I really appreciated Krugman’s examples related to meteorology, a “hard science” in order to show how models and methodology are often created. I found the following quote to be especially impactful: “The cycle of knowledge lost before it can be regained seems to be an inevitable part of formal model-building.” As Krugman explains, this is certainly at least partially what happened in terms of high development theory. I wonder what would have happened not only to the field of development economics, but also to the entire world and developing countries if there had not been this period of “intellectual waste” as it relates to development economics. If development economic models had been created in the 1950’s as opposed to the 1990’s, would we have been able to make greater progress in developing countries if we had been able to fully understand economically what was happening there? Would the world be pushed 40 years ahead in terms of development? As Krugman explains, there is nothing that can be done, but it would be interesting to know what the state of developing countries would be and how the field of development economics could have changed.
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2020 on Krugman for Friday at Jolly Green General
In addition to the institutional barriers this paper discusses, I was most interested by the paper’s discussion of technology adoption and the role this plays in leading some countries to flourish while others are left lagging, especially considering our research this summer (shoutout to Acemoglu). It was interesting to read about the countless tech sector advancements and adoptions that have led nearly all ten sample countries toward economic growth, and the lack thereof in the lagging countries. I think it could have benefitted the paper to discuss the role of technology and increased capital as an institutional barrier, which obviously works in tandem with the various other institutional barriers discussed. Additionally, relating back to the SDG’s and last week’s discussion on the importance of the role of good governance, I found it particularly disheartening to read in this paper that many of the countries that are lagging suffer from poor governance and corruption, albeit unsurprised. More generally, I wonder what the possible policy implications may be, and the ways different countries could work together to sustain economic growth especially in the struggling countries that the paper mentions. I am aware that many struggling countries resort to assistance from the IMF in an attempt to move toward economic growth, and the paper mentions the way IMF interventions have been successful in countries such as India, Cote d’Ivoire, and partially in the Phillipines. I also know that IMF intervention in other countries, such as Argentina, sometimes leave countries in a worse position than they were before. It would be interesting to know what the authors suggest as an institution that not only tears down the institutional barriers, but also promotes growth across the globe- perhaps an institution is not even necessarily the answer.
Toggle Commented Sep 4, 2020 on Reading for next Friday at Jolly Green General
Like Mercer and Frances, I am also a bit troubled by Sach’s assertion of the need for “good governance at all levels, national, regional, and global.” More specifically, Sach mentions countries such as China as a middle income emerging economy that would, at the time this commentary was written in 2012, be a crucial leader in fulfilling the SDGs. While I agree that good governance at all levels is necessary in order to make progress on the SDGs, I worry about the growing tensions between countries such as the United States and China that have been exacerbated over the past couple of years. It would be interesting to know what level of cooperation has gone on, not only between the US and China, but between all governments across the globe especially given today’s political climate, 8 years after Sach wrote this initial piece. I wonder if he remains confident and optimistic of these goals and the ability and willingness of the world’s governments to cooperate and work together to complete the goals laid out in the SDGs. Sach also mentions the lack of timely and accurate data reporting as one of the shortcomings of the original MDGs. I would be curious to know what progress has been made toward collecting and publishing this type of data, as it is necessary so that high and middle-income countries are able to assess the progress being made toward achieving the SDGs and act accordingly. If this data reporting is still lagging, I wonder what steps could be taken by global leaders in order to assure the collection of timely and accurate data.
Olivia Indelicato is now following The Typepad Team
Aug 27, 2020