This is Mary Wilson Grist's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Mary Wilson Grist's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Mary Wilson Grist
Recent Activity
I appreciated Banerjee and Duflo’s point that even though there was a lack of positive results in terms of health and women’s empowerment, microcredit worked in the dimension that it was supposed to. While positive results in health and women’s empowerment are obviously the long term goal for any anti-poverty initiative, it does not mean that a certain initiative is failing if those results do not occur immediately. Access to loans through microcredit helped households to make choices and decisions about investments, something that they did not have the luxury of making beforehand. While one would hope that eventually the resources from microcredits would allow women to work outside the home and allow healthcare to be a primary financial priority for the families, Banerjee and Duflo still consider the current progress of microcredit a success. As Alex mentioned in her post, “serving women is good for business and good for fulfilling a social mission” (12). The hope is that these microcredits will give women the chance to be in charge of a household financials and in turn lead to more stable payments etc.
The biggest takeaway from this paper is the profound impact that countries have on each other’s decisions to borrow and invest. I enjoyed reading the section about lending in the 1920s and the debt crisis of the 1930s. Central Europe and Latin America needed reconstruction and reform, and capital from the United States was attracted to these economies. In addition to motives by inflation stabilization and restoration of gold conversion, there were certainly other incentives for Americans to invest abroad. The Federal Reserve maintained low interest rates to encourage American investors to invest abroad. Then by 1928, the Fed raised the rates to deter the excessive stock speculation. This anecdote made me think about the ways we could incentivize Americans to invest abroad in developing countries that could use a big push to jump start healthcare, education and infrastructure developments. Does the Fed still have this kind of power to incentivize foreign investment, and does it only apply to developed countries? I am sure that I am grossly oversimplifying this, but I was curious about ways we could incentivize this kind of foreign investment today.
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2021 on ... at Jolly Green General
A major assumption in all discussions about return rates of education is that more education leads to more productivity. However, I thought it was interesting that the authors point out that this isn't always the case. In fact, sometimes more education is just a signal that a worker is likely to be more productive. This made me think about current job discrimination. Even though a person who has had 7 semesters of college really won't be all that less productive or knowledgeable than a colleague who graduated after 8 semesters of college, there is a massive difference in hiring rates for college graduates vs. college dropouts. I think a large part of this has to do with signaling. To many employers, a college degree is a signal to others that you are productive and will add something to the team.
Toggle Commented Nov 12, 2021 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
Much of this article made me think about Amartya Sen and his approaches to reducing poverty. However, one thing I wanted to touch on was Duflo's question about whether economic development can be enough to ensure gender equality. I think her answer is no, that we need to have more targeted policy in order to achieve gender equality. Even In the United States, a very much developed country, there is still a wide earnings gap. In my CBSC class today, we discussed that on average, a woman makes $.82 to the white man's $1. This gap is even worse for women of color. At the current rate, this gap won't close until 2093. In addition, while more education for women does help increase earnings, and is beneficial especially in countries where women have very limited opportunities, it does not close the gap. In the United States, even when we control for factors other than gender, including education, experience, location and industry, there is still a 2% wage gap difference. While this at first glance seems promising, it just means that when literally everything else is equal, women still earn less purely due to gender identity. This goes to show that while economic development is crucial, there is a significant need for specific policy in order to achieve gender equality.
Toggle Commented Oct 29, 2021 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
While people often talk about how development effects the climate, I rarely read about climate change effecting development. My main takeaway from this article is the duality of development and sustainability. Climate change is already affecting wellbeing in underdeveloped regions that are more vulnerable due to weak government or infrastructure. With projects of dry regions and excessive rains in places where that is not normal, development will obviously be stifled due to degradation of natural resources or even existing infrastructure. Crop yield are expected to decrease, and for countries near the border that rely on exports of their goods, this will be detrimental. In addition, lack of food security will increase as farms are destroyed and fishery catches are decreased. This will lead to a deterioration of the development efforts that have been made to alleviate poverty and hunger in the world.
Toggle Commented Oct 21, 2021 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
By providing concrete examples of the 10 fastest growing and other trapped and lagged economies, I think the authors painted a clear picture of their findings about the effects of institutional barriers. While I have often heard about this increasing disparity over the past few decades, the concrete examples and glimpses into each economy were very insightful. However, one question I have is what we are supposed to do about this disparity. It is clear that one of the most prevalent characteristics for a fast growing economy is the ability to export. However, not every country can be an exporting country - people need to specialize and consume the products being exported in order to sustain the process. While I don't think the authors are suggesting that this is the solution to the gap, what are ways we can elevate the economies of these lagged or trapped economies without making them exporting industries?
Toggle Commented Sep 30, 2021 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
I really liked the quote “Models should provide insight into why the vastly more complex real system behaves the way it does”. I think this is a helpful way to understand why there is so much emphasis on models in economics. In terms of the High Development Theory, it is interesting that it got disregarded due to the lack of ability to formally model the theory. However, I also agree with the argument that putting too much emphasis on models does take away from some important complexities that need to be analyzed. It is important to have an equal balance between simplistic models and the discussions of complexities.
Toggle Commented Sep 23, 2021 on Krugman for Friday at Jolly Green General
Reading this article is the first time I had heard about the MDGs. The progress toward eliminating poverty, hunger and disease to name a few seems to be promising and paths toward success seem well thought out. As Sachs points out, I think it is important to note the simplicity of the 8 objectives, ones that are easy to remember and capture several of the main concerns regarding social priorities worldwide. This framework seems easily adaptable for the important Sustainable Development Goals. However, as Alli points out, these goals may not have been met since the publication of this article. One major setback that came to mind as I was reading was the current state of gender equality in Afghanistan. After years of working toward what would be considered “success” for social inclusion, a sudden event of the Taliban takeover seems to be on its way to reverse any of the progress. How would the SDG take this into account? This is where the 4th determinant for successful SDGs becomes crucial – a responsive government. On a separate note, I appreciated the article’s inclusion of highly important psychological findings. On page 2209, Sachs emphasizes the importance of paying particular attention to children in early childhood, nodding to the the overwhelming psychological findings that this period of brain development is a crucial time with major long term implications. As we discussed in class on Wednesday, it is imperative to consider interdisciplinary findings in Economics in order to have any real success.
Mary Wilson Grist is now following The Typepad Team
Sep 16, 2021