Technology Dynamics and Growth

According to the Solow Model, productivity growth is the key to long-term, sustained economic growth. In practice, this is quantified by a blunt measure of economic efficiency called total factor productivity (TFP). Referred to as a "measure of our ignorance" by Robert Solow himself, TFP is calculated by summing up all growth that is not … Continue reading Technology Dynamics and Growth

Feeding the World: Population vs Technology

Today the world produces historically spectacular amounts of food. Despite this, around 12% of the world remains undernourished, and assuming current trends hold, the world's population is projected to reach 9.8bn people around 2050 and 11.2bn by 2100, making the challenge of keeping everyone well-fed even more difficult. Technological progress has enabled the huge crop … Continue reading Feeding the World: Population vs Technology

Closing the Infrastructure Gap

In 2017 the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that the world would need to spend $67tn by 2035, or $3.7tn annually — roughly $1.3tn more than was spent in 2013 — on infrastructure in order to merely keep up with projected economic growth. This difference between current spending on infrastructure and the need for additional funding … Continue reading Closing the Infrastructure Gap

The Elusive 1.5°C

In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released a special report titled Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, … Continue reading The Elusive 1.5°C

Premature Deindustrialization: Economic Growth Then & Now

The conventional path for economic development has been to use industrialization — the process of increasing industry's relative contribution to total GDP and employment, at the expense of those of agriculture and services — as a means to enable rapid convergence. "Convergence" refers to a catch-up effect whereby countries that have low levels of income … Continue reading Premature Deindustrialization: Economic Growth Then & Now

The Randomistas Shouldn’t Rule, but They Needn’t be Renounced

In August, Martin Ravallion wrote a working paper for the Center for Global Development titled Should the Randomistas (Continue to) Rule? questioning the wisdom of allowing proponents of randomized control trials (RCTs) to dictate the development research agenda. This came after a collection of 15 renowned economists wrote an open letter criticizing development buzzwords, including … Continue reading The Randomistas Shouldn’t Rule, but They Needn’t be Renounced

How We Use Energy in 2018

In June, oil supermajor British Petroleum (BP) released its 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy, a summary of the trends observed in the energy industry during the prior year and the economic factors driving those trends. BP's Statistical Review is published annually and is considered a benchmark for the energy industry. Lately, there has been … Continue reading How We Use Energy in 2018

The Energy-Development Nexus

Energy and economic development significantly affect one another. Exactly how they do so, though, is far from straightforward and depends on a dizzying web of interrelated complex systems. As such, this post will not provide the reader with a definitive relationship between the two, but rather will provide an overview of topics regarding the relationship. … Continue reading The Energy-Development Nexus

The Causes of the Wealth of Nations

Sustained, long-term output per capita growth, often referred to simply as "economic growth" is the ultimate goal of most economic policy interventions, and there are a number of models — mathematic representations of the economy — designed to explain how adjusting certain variables affects output per capita. The Solow Model is one of the simplest models of … Continue reading The Causes of the Wealth of Nations

The Nature of the Wealth of Nations

Before inquiring into the causes of development phenomena observed, it is a good idea to first establish just what phenomena are observed. Toward those ends, Nicholas Kaldor presented a set of six stylized facts in 1961 designed to summarize what had been learned about economics in the 20th century and establish a research agenda framework. … Continue reading The Nature of the Wealth of Nations