What does development mean? (video)

Where I try to answer one of the most difficult questions in the field of development economics: What does ‘development’ mean? Check out the answers of some of my colleagues on the IGDC twitter account.

Letter in the Financial Times & an Alternative Economics Summer reading List

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Earlier this month, I published a letter in the Financial Times with Carolina Alves, Besiana Balla and Devika Dutt (July 17th, 2018). The letter was a reaction the lack of diversity in Martin Wolf’s summer reading list in the FT. His reading list consisted of only authors based in either the UK or the US, 12 out of 13 of the authors were men, and most of them were writing within the so-called mainstream of the profession. We were therefore compelled to put together our own list in order to show that heterodox, female and/or non-Western scholars also do publish high quality work – although it tends to go unnoticed due to the biases in our field. So, we put together this Alternative Economics Summer Reading List (published on Developing Economics).

It was Martin’s response (see here for the full exchange) to my comment under his list that finally inspired us to write a letter to the FT. In our letter, we urge Martin to be explicit about his biases when publishing such reading lists, as many FT readers might be misled into thinking that his lists represent the breadth of the field.

The letter went on to become the most read FT Letter of the week.

Launch of IGDC and the Heterodox Development Economics Project

In June 2018, the Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre was launched (my new employer). During the launch, I held a presentation of my project “Heterodox Development Economics” and gave some remarks. See the promo video from the event below.

You can read more about the launch here and about the Heterodox Development Economics project here. Continue reading “Launch of IGDC and the Heterodox Development Economics Project”

New paper: ‘Caveat emptor: the Graduation Approach, electronic payments and the potential pitfalls of financial inclusion’

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Paulo dos Santos and I recently published a piece in Policy in Focus 14 (2): 55-57. This is a publication by The International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth. You can also read the piece on Developing Economics.

New Edited Volume: Conversations on Dependency Theory

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An e-book I co-edited on dependency theory was recently published on the Institute for New Economic Thinking’s (INET) website. The e-book is the first volume of the e-book series Dialogues on Development and it includes 13 interviews with prominent scholars who have differing views on dependency theory.

Read about the e-book on INET’s website.

Download the e-book.

Download individual chapters (interviewees in brackets):

New article: Better than Cash, but Beware the Costs

Paulo dos Santos and I recently published Better than Cash, but Beware the Costs: Electronic Payments Systems and Financial Inclusion in Developing Economies in Development and Change. The article dissects and critically evaluates the assumptions behind the policies promoted by the Better Than Cash Alliance.

Here is the abstract:

This article considers current proposals for using electronic payments systems to promote financial inclusion — that is, to widen the availability of financial and monetary services in developing countries. While such systems can generate significant savings in the operation of monetary systems, payment services markets are typically uncompetitive and require regulatory and broader state interventions to ensure those savings are widely distributed. The use of those systems to broaden the reach of for-profit lenders raises a number of concerns, as a growing literature has documented how microcredit initiatives in developing countries have resulted primarily in expansions in consumption credit to households, often under predatory terms. The authors advance two original arguments in this connection. First, the perverse results of many microcredit initiatives reflect the underdevelopment of the areas concerned: without broader development strategies, potentially transformative productive projects are rare and unprofitable to finance. In contrast, widespread unmet consumption needs ensure consumption credit offers lenders a profitable alternative business orientation. Second, and in light of this, electronic payments platforms can contribute to economic development by enabling the establishment of well-regulated or public systems of electronic ‘narrow banks’ restricted from lending, but capable of widening access to affordable payments, savings and insurance services.