Saturday Morning Reading #16

Here’s your Saturday morning reading…

1. The Case for Democracy
a) Democracy, What Is It Good For? | Why Nations Fail –  Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson
“Our results from the two papers combined thus suggest an intriguing pattern: contrary to what many have presumed, democracy doesn’t have a huge effect on inequality. But also contrary to what seems to have been almost a consensus, democracy does have a robust and fairly sizable positive effect on economic growth.”

b) Why are rich countries democratic? | Project Syndicate – Richard Hausmann
Ricardo Hausmann on the market-like mechanism in advanced economies’ political systems.
“Successful political systems have had to create an alternative invisible hand – a system that decentralizes the power to identify problems, propose solutions, and monitor performance, such that decisions are made with much more information.”

c) Demography, Democracy, and Complexity | Dart-Throwing Chimp – Jay Ulfelder
Strong predictions using the theory that a country’s age structure is a powerful predictor of its prospects for attempting and sustaining liberal democracy have turned out surprisingly well. Jay looks at why this may be the case.

2. Four steps to fixing inequality | Tim Harford
Most people agree that widening inequality is a problem. What do we need to think about if we’re serious about tackling it?
The first step is to be precise.
The second step is to look at underlying causes rather than symptoms.
The third step is to reform redistribution.
Step four is to remember the small stuff.

3. Shifting sands: the changing landscape for international NGOs | Global Development Professionals Network – Tim Smedley
“The NGO landscape is restructuring: international NGOs are migrating south, expatriate placements are becoming rarer and some national operations in the global north are being shut down altogether. This is partly due to financial constraints.”
Interesting reading from a careers perspective (asking where you can fit into and be useful), from the angle of effectiveness and  on overcoming institutional inertia and resistance to change.

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