Results for “africa”
939 found

How to fight AIDS in Africa

A new paper, "Sexually Transmitted Infections, Sexual Behavior and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic"
by Harvard economics graduate student Emily Oster, asks why prevalence
rates for HIV/AIDS are ten to fifteen times higher in Africa than in
the United States. Using a simple model that decomposes infection
levels into differences in sexual behavior and differences in
transmission rates, she attributes the entire difference in HIV
prevalence between the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa to
differences in transmission rates. The intuition, as she writes, is
that "Higher transmission rates produce more infections this period,
and each new infected person can infect people next period, so the
result of a higher transmission rate is multiplied many times over."

One
of the implications of her findings is that lowering transmission rates
by targeting STDs is more cost effective than trying to reduce HIV
prevalence using expensive antiretrovirals or education programs aimed
at changing behavior.

Read more here.

Unemployment in South Africa

More than 40 percent of the South African workforce is without a job and nearly 60 percent of those who are jobless have never worked. The NYTimes is correct that South Africa faces many problems including poorly educated workers, AIDS, and crime. But it is not true that South Africa is doing poorly “despite [it’s] sound economic policies.” In particular, if you read to the 22nd paragraph you find this buried lede:

In other developing countries, legions of unskilled workers have kept down labor costs. But South Africa’s leaders, vowing not to let their nation become the West’s sweatshop, heeded the demands of politically powerful labor unions for new protections and benefits. According to a study conducted in 2000 for the government’s finance department, South Africa’s wages are five times higher than Indonesia’s, even though its workers are only twice as productive.

To the great detriment of its people, South Africa’s leaders have been successful. South Africa is not the West’s sweatshop.

African Americans and Government

Tyler may be correct that “the government as employer has done more for black communities than the government as purveyor of affirmative action.” But isn’t there something disturbing about this? Consider the following: Who do you think wrote:

The widely proclaimed growth in the black middle class in the 1960s and early 1970s associated with claims of “dramatic black progress” were in large measure attributable to the expansion of Great Society programs and the professional employment repercussions at levels of government. These programs played less of a role in generating an increase in the black middle class by uplifting the black poor than by providing direct employment to many blacks as social service providers to other impoverished blacks. Thus, one of the main legacies of the Great Society was to cement the symbiosis between the black poor and the black middle class – the former as the clients of the social service system and the latter as the service providers.

No, it wasn’t Charles Murray. It was the radical-leftist economist William Darity Jr., himself an African-American, writing in the May 1990 issue of the AER (JSTOR link). If true, what this suggests is that even middle-class black Americans were, and perhaps are, much less well integrated into the American economy than we might think from income statistics. I find this disturbing from just about any angle.

African food scandal

Zambia, Lesotho, Malawi, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe — not exactly marvels of good nutrition — have been destroying food shipments from America. Why? This will sound like a sick joke, but they are afraid of genetically-modified foods. These countries have now expressed official opposition to American food entering their country, at a time when almost 3 million Zambians, to cite just one example, desperately need food aid.

There is another villain in the story, namely some of the European nations. The Africans fear that if they accept genetically-modified foods, the seeds will mix with their current crops. Europe will then be reluctant to import African foodstuffs. By the way, Greenpeace opposes the food shipments as well.

Peter Pringle offers a good survey of the debates on genetically-modified foodstuffs.

Thursday assorted links

1. In Austin, Caplan and Razib Khan will comment on Hanania.  I am telling them to put it on YouTube.

2. Pushing Zambia to become a start-up hub?

3. Can software identify your chess-playing style?

4. Support for the child tax credit is waning (NYT).

5. Western Arkansas is offering 10k in Bitcoin and bike to relocate there.

6. Why are so many defectors from North Korea to South Korea women?

7. Bruno M. on Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Is the Beijing Consensus collapsing?

From my latest Bloomberg column:

The more dramatic developments have come from China itself. China did effectively wield state power to build infrastructure, manage its cities and boost economic growth. And most advocates of the Washington Consensus underestimated how well that process would go.

But along the way, China became addicted to state power. Whenever there was a problem in Chinese society, the government ran to the rescue. The most dramatic example was the extreme use of fiscal policy to forestall the 2008 financial crisis from spreading to China.

Yet this general application of state power, even if successful in a particular instance, brought a great danger: The Chinese were left with overdeveloped state-capacity muscles and underdeveloped civil-society capabilities. Over the last several years the Chinese government has done much to restrict civil society, free speech and religion within China. Now much of the world, including but not limited to China’s neighbors, is afraid of Chinese state power.

Now, because state power has its limits, it is difficult for China to solve many of its most fundamental problems. Chinese leaders are worried about the country’s low birth rate, for instance, but lifting restrictions on the number of children has not yet helped increase the birth rate. In many societies, it is religious families that have more children, but promoting religion is not a remedy that comes easily to China today.

And how will China deal with the pending spread of the omicron variant of Covid-19? The Communist Party staked its legitimacy on the claim that it could control Covid while the U.S. could not. Soon Chinese citizens may be in for a rude awakening, especially if the Chinese vaccines are not so effective.

Recommended.

Tuesday assorted links

1. Ethiopian government using foreign drones to turn the tide in the conflict (NYT).

2. “Taken together, these results suggest social scientists can learn a great deal by adding pulse rates to the metrics they use when evaluating people’s wellbeing.

3. Brian Eno on NFTs and also economics.

4. Andrew Lilley on Omicron severity.  And more Zvi on severity, including his own, which seems to be OK.

5. The surge of talent into crypto (NYT).

6. log4j summary.

Emergent Ventures winners, seventeenth cohort

Caleb Watney and Alec Stapp, to found a think tank related to progress studies.

Joe Francis, a farmer in Wales, to write a book on the economic and historical import of slavery in the American republic.

Ananya Chadha, freshman at Stanford, general career development, her interests include neurology and electrical engineering.

Eric Xia, Brown University to develop word association software and for general career development.  He is “making a metaphysical sport” and working on word.golf.

Isaak Freeman, from southeast Austria, in a gap year after high school, general career development.

Davis Kedrosky, undergraduate at UC Berkeley, for economic history and general career development.  Home page here, Substack here.

Katherine Dee and Emmet Penney, for general career development including collaboration.  Among other topics, Katherine has worked on reimagining tech and Emmett has worked on promoting nuclear fusion.

Grant Gordon, to remedy hunger and nutrition problems in East Africa and also more broadly.

Sofia Sigal-Passeck, Yale University, “Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Uniphage, a biotechnology start-up which aims to eradicate bacterial diseases using the combined power of bacteriophages and artificial intelligence.”

Brian Potter, to improve productivity in construction, through both writing and practice.  Here is his Substack.

Daniel Liu, attending UCLA, to study computational biology and for general career development.

Molly Mielke, founder and CEO of Moth Minds, a new company to find talent and revolutionize philanthropy: “Moth Minds is building the foundation that enables anyone to start their own grants program based on finding work that gets them excited about the future.”

Here are previous Emergent Ventures winners.

What is the profile of leading development economists on the PhD job market?

From David McKenzie at the World Bank, here is one excerpt:

Data from big middle-income countries, and English-speaking Africa were most common, with no papers on the Middle East and North Africa, and very little study of the poorest places: In both samples, India, Brazil, and Colombia (and the U.S.!) were the most common countries studied, with a smattering of papers from East Asia, other South Asian countries, and Latin America, and one from Russia with nothing else on Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Of the World’s 25 poorest countries, only one (Mozambique) was the subject of study; of the five countries that contain half the World’s poor, there were papers on India and Bangladesh, but none on Nigeria, DRC or Ethiopia.

Here is another:

RCTs have far from overtaken development, difference-in-differences is the most popular identification method, yes, people still do IV, and no, no one does PSM on the job market: The pandemic may have reduced the ability of people to do some field experiments, but this year at least, only 20% of the top school sample, and only 6% of the World Bank sample were doing RCTs. More than one quarter in both cases were using difference-in-differences. RDD and IVs were used in about 10% of the papers each, and structural models were common in the World Bank sample (which has more trade and macro papers). None of the papers used propensity score matching.

The blog post is interesting throughout.  Via the excellent Samir Varma.