Links round-up

Namaste all,

 So, I’m in sunny (and rainy, and humid) Nepal – we can call it Ranxit – so this week’s links might be a bit threadbare. It’s been back to back meetings, thinking about migration, structural transformation and state capacity, so basically like any other week, but with more samosas and dumplings. It’s an amazing place, and I’ve probably never been anywhere where migration is so central to understanding how the country functions. But straight into the links:

 1.       Okay, so I’m in Nepal, but I still can’t escape Brexit. CGD have really pulled out the stops here, and two more good pieces came out this week: first, Vijaya Ramachandran and Jennifer Richmond look at the politics underlying Brexit, and conclude that many of the policies that development economists love (like freer migration and trade) depend, politically, on the redistribution of the spoils in rich countries. Brexit shows that this is a development issue, too. Secondly, Matts Collin and Juden look at the effects of Brexit on remittances (which, incidentally, are currently at around 30% of Nepal’s GDP). It’s not good.

2.       Much of the reason for that is about the depreciating pound. But surely, this will be good for UK trade, right? Tyler Cowen suggests it might be a little bit more complicated than that. And, related to Vij’s piece linked above, Tim Harford looks at this world of winners and losers we inhabit, and what it means for and tells us about how people see the economy.

3.       Changing the subject (a phrase I find myself needing to utter more and more), Dissanayake (2015b, 2016) has argued that men are completely full of themselves and overestimate their own abilities. An article in Nature suggests that they are also more likely to cite their own research than women. I hate to say I told you so, but (Dissanayake, 2014).

4.       Very good discussion from Bloomberg about why the heck Venezuela don’t just default, as ‘Financial Hitman’ Ricardo Hausmann has suggested.

5.       David Evans does that thing where he knows about everything that has ever been researched in his field (education and learning) and shares that knowledge in bite-size chunks. He’s brilliant, and I want him to come back to DFID to present again.

6.       On the power of branding: Planet Money investigates whether a Stradivarius sounds any better than a regular violin and finds that it pretty much doesn’t, though everyone who loves violins argues with them and claims they’re just testing it wrong. I think three things are going on here: first, branding does really work; second, simply knowing something is more expensive probably makes us appreciated it more, either psychologically or physically; and third, narratives help us make sense of our lives and our interests, and powerful narratives are near-impossible to shift. (Transcript).

7.       And lastly, because I’ve got to run since I’m rudely keeping my ride home at his desk: some hope for anyone who isn’t a Warriors fan – they probably can’t make the most of signing Kevin Durant

 Have a great weekend, everyone!


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