Maros Ivanic, William Martin, 21 November 2008

Rising food prices are hurting many poor people across the globe. This column defends agricultural liberalisation, showing that agricultural protection actually increased over the last quarter-century in most poor countries and arguing that self-sufficiency would worsen food security. Policymakers should give direct aid to the very poor rather than resorting to export restrictions.

Raymond Fisman, 14 November 2008

Ray Fisman of Columbia University talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his new book, Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of Nations, written with Ted Miguel. They discuss witch-killing in Tanzania, parking violations by United Nations diplomats, and the value of political connections in both the developing and developed world. The interview was recorded at the Centre for Economic Performance in London in November 2008.

Simeon Djankov, Marta Reynal-Querol, 29 October 2008

Would reducing poverty reduce the risk of civil war in poor countries? This column explains that the relationship between poverty and civil conflicts is probably driven by other factors omitted from previous econometric specifications, such as colonial history. To reduce the probability of civil war, policies need to address other structural problems.

Dennis Snower, 26 September 2008

The world has a new forum for formulating solutions to global problems. In this column, its founder, Dennis Snower, President of the Kiel Institute of World Economics, explains the goals of the Global Economic Symposium – something like Davos but where the economics is the focus instead of the window dressing.

Fritz Foley, 05 August 2008

Crime rises when US welfare recipients run short of cash at the end of the month. This column discusses research that links the timing of financially-motivated crime and the timing of welfare payments. Cities that make monthly welfare payments see a clear monthly crime cycle, whereas cities that spread out the payments do not.

Raphael Auer, 26 July 2008

Why are some economies rich and others poor? The economics profession is divided between rival schools of thought that emphasise geography or institutions. This column assesses the relative importance of each using the interaction of history and geography. The answer raises major policy implications.

Eric Edmonds, Nina Pavcnik, 28 May 2008

India’s trade liberalisation in the 1990s produced large gains, but it imposed significant costs of adjustment on communities with industries that lost tariff protection. A new study shows that those communities’ educational attainment lags behind the rest of India due to the intersection of trade adjustment, poverty, and schooling costs.

Richard Baldwin, 12 February 2008

Raising incomes of the world’s poorest is about more than raising living standards. Poverty kills. This column discusses recent research illustrating the links between extreme poverty and early death.

Antonio Ciccone, 07 January 2008

Since World War II, civil wars have killed more people than interstate conflicts. Poverty and low income growth have long been suspected as important causal factors, and new evidence suggests that drops in income raise the likelihood of civil war. However, democratic institutions may significantly alleviate such dangers.

Janet Currie, Firouz Gahvari, 17 December 2007

Many countries provide large in-kind transfers although standard economic theory says cash transfers would be more efficient. Here is some new evidence evaluating the many justifications for in-kind transfers; it seems paternalism is the most likely explanation.

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