What We're Reading

In writing Poor Economics, we relied on decades of work by development economics researchers. Naturally, that research continued after the book was published. The moment the book was finished, we wished we had waited a little longer so we could have included results from new studies. This page is a way of highlighting and archiving recent studies of interest to our readers. Occasionally, we will also provide updates about what we are working on.


The Washington Post examines the ongoing indoor cookstove debate, citing results from co-author Esther Duflo's and colleagues' recent research in India. Read more here. To learn more about the cited study, see the article here.


We finally released the paper on our rather unique experiment with the police department in Rajasthan: incremental changes, at work.


Fred Finan and co-authors push the boundaries of experiments, showing that - in Mexico - higher wages attract better civil servants, without crowding out the motivation to serve.


Economists Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, in anticipation of their new book, Why Nations Fail, have generated an unusually substantive blog on development and political economy current issues. Read it here.


A worrying report on the evolution of reading levels in India.


New article by Drs. Esther Duflo (co-author, Poor Economics), Lori Beaman, Rohini Pande, and Petia Topalova in Science examines the role model effect of local female politicians on adolescent girls' aspirations and and educational attainment. Full text here.


In this paper by Field et al., allowing a grace period in microfinance loans led to short-run business investments and increased profits. Debt contracts that required early repayment discouraged risky investments but limited the potential impact of micronance on entrepreneurship and household poverty. 


A paper by Per Petterson-Lindbom and Björn Tyrefors Hinnerich examines Sweden's political history from the early 20th century. They find that a community placed under representative democracy (rather than direct democracy) transferred more to the poor.


Subsidizing schooling for adolescent in Kenya reduces drop-outs and teenage pregnancy. Adding an abstinence-till-marriage sexual education program lowers sexually transmitted infections, but reduces the effect on teenage pregnancy. 


In regions that were historically more suitable for plough-based agriculture, gender attitudes are more patriarchal and women are still underrepresented in the workplace and in politics.