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Development in Dangerous Places: Comment on Collier
Edward Miguel
Boston Review
July 1, 2009

In his essay (and two recent books) Paul Collier lays out a detailed vision for how foreign aid and intervention might promote economic progress in the world’s poorest regions, areas populated by what he has called the “bottom billion.” The key problem, as Collier describes it here, is that: "A group of about 60 small, impoverished, post-colonial countries . . . . are structurally...

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Politics May Strain Health Care Reform
Edward Miguel
Marketplace
March 2, 2009

Audio available via Marketplace (18:18).
Republican majorities in Congress passed the largest expansion of federal government health spending in decades with the Medicare Prescription Drug Act of 2003, with strong support from President Bush. One has to wonder if there are more than economic ideology differences at work on either side. Even Rush Limbaugh said about the stimulus plan: "I don't think it's designed to stimulate...

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Do Conflicts Cause Poverty, or Vice Versa
Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel
Vox
November 29, 2008

Understanding the tangled web of cause and effect that potentially links poverty and violence is a task that has long stymied social scientists. Does war cause poverty, or vice-versa? Or perhaps other factors – such as societal hatreds or divisions – cause both economic stagnation and war. Maybe all three of these are operating at once. This is no matter for ivory-towered thumb twiddling...

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How to Prevent War and Famine
Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel
Forbes
October 15, 2008

With the U.S. financial system in unprecedented turmoil and the economy moving toward recession, ordinary Americans wake up to daily panic about their mortgages and mutual funds. But while we fret for our financial security, the volatility in global asset prices and commodities resulting from the U.S. financial crisis will have global reach, threatening the very survival of Africa’s poorest villagers. Take oil prices, for...

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Don't Forget the Already Poor
Edward Miguel
Marketplace
October 13, 2008

Audio available via Marketplace (19:50).
We're all glued to Wall Street's implosion and for good reason. We're worried about falling home values and our 401k's. The crisis will also hit the world's poorest people in Africa, Asia and Latin America who are least able to buffer the shock. For one, in the recent Vice Presidential debate, Joe Biden said that one consequence of the financial crisis would...

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Political Ties Boost Bottom Lines
Edward Miguel
Marketplace
September 26, 2008

Audio available via Marketplace (20:37).
Critics of our campaign finance system fear growing corruption: are contributions too often the quid pro quo for favorable government regulation or no-bid contracts? New economics research using stock prices finds that political ties can be quite profitable for U.S. firms. The idea is simple: compare companies that cultivate ties with Democrats (through campaign contributions or board memberships or lobbying) to...

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Deciphering the Demand for Safe Drinking Water
Michael Kremer, Edward Miguel, Clair Null, and Alix Zwane
Resources for the Future: Weekly Policy Commentary
September 1, 2008

We take water for granted when it flows from our kitchen faucet, but for millions in less developed countries, safe drinking water remains a matter of life and death. Diarrheal diseases kill around two million children every year, and contaminated water is often to blame. In rural areas where pipe infrastructure is too expensive or too hard to maintain, water collection from sources like...

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Water Technologies
Michael Kremer, Edward Miguel, Clair Null, and Alix Zwane
Boston Review
September 1, 2008

In rural areas where piped-water infrastructure is too expensive or difficult to maintain, the burden of water collection falls primarily on women and young children. Though they may walk hours, the sources they have access to are often dangerously polluted. With so many people relying on the same sources to wash dishes and clothes and to give their livestock something to drink, preserving cleanliness...

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How Economics Can Defeat Corruption
Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel
Foreign Policy
August 13, 2008

It was the odd uniformity of the suitcase's contents that tipped off the baggage inspector: six thick, identical rectangles. They could have been books, but then again, they could have been six bundles of cocaine. And in August 2007, security was tight at the airport in Buenos Aires; the country was in the midst of a presidential election. It was worth taking a closer...

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