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Category Archives: Publications

Housing Affordability: Top-Down Design and Spontaneous Order

DRI POLICY BRIEFING Housing Affordability: Top-Down Design and Spontaneous Order  By Alain Bertaud   Executive Summary Urban planners are suspicious of spontaneous order, associating it with chaos and anarchy. As much as top-down design is indispensable for the construction of city infrastructure, it too often imposes

Greene Street: A Long History of a Short Block

NYU’s Development Research Institute (DRI) is proud to announce the launch of the Greene Street Project. The project, based on the academic paper, A Long History of a Short Block: Four Centuries of Development Surprises on a Single Stretch of a New York City Street, is a study

5 Ways to Improve Your Impact Evaluation

Impact evaluations are supposed to tell us what works in development, and a lot of time and money goes into them. It’s unfortunate, then, when they fail to report their results clearly. One of the things I found most shocking, looking through a large database

Is there rigorous evidence that anyone will use rigorous evidence?

A new study using 1,419 micro-finance NGOs as subjects created two treatment groups. In the positive treatment subjects were randomly assigned to receive a summary of a study by prominent authors finding that microcredit is effective. The negative treatment provided information on research – by the same authors

Do free and competitive elections make a democracy? Maybe not

Tanzania looks an awful lot like a democracy. The East African nation has been holding multi-party elections since 1995, which international observers have deemed free and competitive. In Tanzania, votes are not miscounted, opposition parties compete actively, and the ruling party—the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM),

How much do Europeans account for economic development?

From the Wall Street Journal, by Daniel Lippman: European settlement had a longstanding positive effect on economic development in countries that were colonies, notwithstanding the terrible effects of Western diseases and political oppression that often resulted, according to new research. The paper, titled “The European

Mama liked you more and now you're more successful

There is a strong link between individual height and economic and educational success, in part because height reflects childhood nutrition that also affects cognitive development. Research by Anne Case (Princeton) and Chris Paxson (Brown) shows more success, remarkably, even for taller relative to shorter siblings.

Yet another perspective on China: It's History, Stupid

Chris Blattman featured yesterday the new paper by Enrico Spolaore and Romain Wacziarg, How Deep are the Roots of Economic Development? The paper is a great survey of the exploding literature linking today’s development outcomes to ancient roots. ( I denote the survey as “great”

It’s called brain circulation, Europe, get used to it

Earlier this week, we pointed out the new wave of emigration from Portugal to its former colonies. As the number of emigrants has increased, so has the emigrants’ skill level. The new generation of migrants is no longer made up of blue-collar workers, but of

Don’t Help me, Trust me – Your African Coffee Producer

At a recent speech at DRI, Andrew Rugasira described what happened as Good African Coffee, the business he founded in Uganda’s Rwenzori mountains, began to take off. As farmers began to produce higher quality coffee and see higher prices for their crops: Something really extraordinary