This week’s links are written in a hurry, as DFID is apparently planning the e-mail apocalypse at 5pm, so if I don’t get these out soon I’ll break my several-year-long streak of getting these out on every Friday I’m in the country. I’ve kept this streak going despite severe pressure from the cricket (I once wrote the links at 8am so I could a get a full day in at Lord’s) and by the sunshine (I fell asleep in my garden – on a non-working day, I hasten to add), so I’ll be damned if it’s going to snap because of a server reset.
1. The Government’s Migration Advisory Committee published its report into what it considers the ideal migration regime for the UK after Brexit recently. Owen Barder and Arthur Baker at CGD were pretty critical of it, arguing that the report, while rightly focusing on the UK’s interests, should nevertheless have at least considered the development impact of migration. If they had, it’s highly unlikely that they would have advised a basically complete shutdown of low-skilled migration. They make three sensible suggestions to relax this proposal. I’m reminded again of David McKenzie’s response when asked if his YouWin programme in Nigeria was the best development intervention he’d seen. He laughed out loud before saying, definitively: “No. That’s migration.”
2. Speaking of Brexit, I found this very interesting without being totally convincing: Lubor Pastor and Pietro Veronesi propose a model in which rational voters who like consumption but dislike inequality can select a retrenchment from globalisation, with equality analogous to a luxury good, which is ‘bought’ at the cost of lower consumption. It’s an interesting idea (though I’m not sure I think the best model is one with rational voters), but there’s one point which jars to me: it predicts that populist movements will do better in boom times, while my (unscientific) read is that discontent with globalisation has its roots in the recession, not the recovery.
3. Lee points out something else from the recent cash benchmarking work: that it highlights exactly how small the amount of aid provided per household was.
4. Two gender pieces: Ilyana Kuziemko and co-authors look at how motherhood affects women in the labour market and find that not only does it have well-known effects on labour market participation and earnings, but that these effects appear to be unexpected, especially for better-educated women. I can believe this. The number of new parents who look at me with dead eyes and say: “I had no idea it was so much work” is too long to count. Also: sexual assault is more down to a culture of men being assholes than to booze, which, of course. But good to see FiveThirtyEight give us the evidence.
5. Want to become a world-beater in your field? Stop trying so hard and take up a hobby. Tim Harford is pushing at an open door with me when he says a wide variety of interests keeps the mind in good shape.
6. As if to prove the point, Branko characterises China’s economy as a world of Hayekian Marxists (or Marxist Hayekians?). The old joke in Hong Kong was that ‘Communism with Chinese Characteristics’ was just a pretentious way of saying ‘capitalism’.
7. Finally, Duncan Green declares war on development jargon. Looking at the list, I think the problem is primarily with people who use words as weapons rather than the words themselves. There’s nothing wrong with the word ‘empowerment’, just some of the crap it’s used to describe. Much more egregious are the additions to the scrabble dictionary, which is the only book banned from the DPRRF (the Democratic People’s Republic of Ranil’s Flat). And, for your weekly nostalgia, a reminder of how great the soundtrack to Dazed and Confused was.
Have a great weekend, everyone!