This video follows on the heels of an earlier Papola-Roberts collaboration, "Fear the Boom and Bust:"
“Benevolent autocrat” is a perpetually popular concept in development policy discussions. This paper suggests this popularity is not solely explained by academic theory and evidence. The history of the concept shows the role of political motivations for embracing the concept. The literature on cognitive biases shows multiple biases that would lead to beliefs in benevolent autocrats even if they did not exist, especially as these interact with stylized facts about autocracy and growth. Neither political motivations nor cognitive biases imply disproof of the concept, but they do suggest the need for even more rigorous scrutiny. The theory implied by a benevolent autocrat story is naïve relative to modern theories of autocracy, and it presumes an implausible level of knowledge by autocrats. The evidence underlying “benevolent autocrat” interpretations has equally plausible – or more plausible -- alternative explanations. The well-known “leaders matter” results of Jones and Olken (2005, 2009) do not demonstrate that intentions and actions of individual autocrats affect growth. Since democratic rights are an end in themselves, the burden of proof is on autocrats to show that they provide material payoffs that offer a trade-off with such rights. This paper argues they fail to meet that burden of proof.
(The Korea Times) Protest against anti-prostitution law: Prostitutes and their pimps stage a protest to call for the abolition of the Special Law on Prostitution in front of Times Square in Yeongdeungpo, Seoul, Thursday. They claimed the law threatens their livelihood
Now, "culture" itself can be a vague and gauzy term. It is difficult to quantify, measure and observe. Even defining it is a challenge. So economists resist including culture in their explanations of how economies work. This resistance is understandable, for it's tempting for lazy scholars to use culture as a generic explanation for any economic fact that isn't easily understood by using the tools of basic economics.
Nevertheless, the fact that a phenomenon is impossible to quantify does not mean that that phenomenon doesn't significantly influence human affairs. If culture does play a role in human society, we economists must include it in our theories.
In the case of women, the largest portion, or 35 percent, felt discriminated against for being tasked to do trifling jobs, such as making coffee.
Other degrading duties included pouring drinks at office gatherings (25 percent), being subjected to remarks on appearance (24 percent), followed by discrimination on salaries and restricted vacation days.
...after a while I found myself thinking of [Park Chung-hee], of all things, as a sort of conductor of an orchestra - with his helicopter as his baton. Up and down he would go, this time with a team of geologists to figure out what was wrong with some mountainside that had crumbled on our tunnel-makers, the next time with a couple of United Nations hydrologists to figure out how our own surveyors had got some water table wrong. If he didn't know the answer on Tuesday, Mr. Park was back with it on Thursday or Saturday.
the problem of reversing conditional probability...[all recent growth stories are autocracies, therefore all autocracies lead to growth]; confirmation bias: despite there being a roughly equal number of stagnant autocracies and high-growth autocracies, there are probably 12 times as many academic papers on the successes than the failures; availability bias: there's more data available on China than Zimbabwe; leadership bias: psychologically, we tend to impute the success or failure of a group to the leader, regardless of contrary evidence; narrative bias: it's easier to tell and believe narratives about heroic individual leaders than about complex self-reinforcing political and economic systems;
"Your complaint faces in two directions. Number one, you said this is a culture where Arkansas knows, the headquarters knows, everything that's going on," he said. "Then in the next breath, you say, well, now these supervisors have too much discretion. It seems to me there's an inconsistency there."