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Nearly four months after the earthquake that devastated Haiti, and after receiving a letter from former Presidents William Clinton and George W. Bush, the U.S. Congress seems prepared to expand access for Haitian apparel exports with the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act. This is important because apparel is one of the few sectors, outside of construction, that can quickly create formal sector jobs for thousands of desperate Haitians, particularly women.
Had enough yet? Last month was the hottest March on record worldwide; global carbon emissions are tracking the IPCC’s worst-case scenario; poverty-stricken India is now shouldering a carbon mitigation burden greater than ours; and the Senate’s score on cap-and-trade is holding steady at zero.
This is a joint post with Vijaya Ramachandran.
A hearty congratulations to Esther Duflo, winner of this year’s John Bates Clark Medal! Since 1947 the American Economic Association has awarded the medal to “that American economist under the age of forty who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.” In our profession, the Clark Medal ranks second only to the Nobel Prize, and about 40 percent of medal winners have gone on to win a Nobel. Esther, a 37-year-old native of France, richly deserves this platinum honor.
This is a joint post with Christopher Ksoll.
Since the volcanic eruption in Iceland on April 14th, we have been inundated with stories about flight disruptions. Demi Moore can no longer travel to the premiere of her new movie in London. The opening of “Iron Man 2” has been moved from Europe to Los Angeles. Millions of passengers have been stranded in the US, Europe, Africa and Asia, as airports from Manchester to Munich to Milan were closed. And now the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging European governments to find ways to “compensate” the airlines for over USD$ 1 billion in lost revenues.
An illustrious lineup was on hand today at the U.S. Treasury for the launch of the somewhat awkwardly named Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a multidonor trust fund that the global leaders promised to create at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh last September. The new fund’s goal: to help countries reduce poverty and hunger by increasing investments in agriculture, particularly amongst smallholder farmers. Speakers included U.S.
The World Bank announced this week that it will providing “free, open and easy access to World Bank statistics and indicators about development.” It is an important step for the Bank. First and foremost because it will facilitate more research and better-informed writing about development issues; but also because it recognizes that this kind of information is exactly the kind of public good that the World Bank should be producing.
The World Food Programme feeds almost 100 million people around the world. It has a world class logistical capability but its financial risk management capacity is extremely limited. In a new paper coauthored with Benjamin Leo and Owen McCarthy, I argue that the World Food Programme must be empowered to actively manage price risk, using financial markets to feed more people in a timely manner. The United States and other significant funders can also play a significant role.
A recent New York Times article gives a real time lesson in the relationship between good impact evaluations (which often provide a lot of useful nuanced information) and policymaking (which thrives on big messages while trying to accommodate political, social and cultural pressures).
On April 6-8, I participated in the World Economic Forum on Latin America, which this year took place in beautiful Cartagena, Colombia. The meetings convened about 600 leaders from industry, government and civil society from over 40 countries. It included the participation of 6 Presidents from the region. I spoke in two panels on: (a) the impact of newly proposed international financial regulation on the stability of Latin America’s financial systems and (b) the development of local capital markets.
Feeding three billion additional people over the next four decades and improving food security for one billion people who are currently hungry or malnourished—all in an era of worsening land and water scarcity, climate change, and declining crop yields—is a dire challenge. Meeting it will require a giant leap in agricultural innovation in developing countries, similar to the 1960s Green Revolution. You can help to design the solution.