Friday, 27 May 2011

Attack of the one-armed economists

Harry Truman allegedly said that he wanted to meet a one-armed economist, so as to spare himself the endless "on the one hand... on the other hand" that our profession can produce. Well, one of our aims here at ITFD is to breed Truman's favourite type of economists. Teams of 3-4 students practice being "one-armed" at the end of their time here, by writing and presenting a policy topics memo. The idea is to reverse the normal, analytical process where you start with a lit survey and then add gradually some nuggets of knowledge before hedging your conclusions in the summary at the end. Here, we want students to answer a policy questions. Working in teams, we had a bunch of presentations on interesting and creative topics:
  1. Should development aid be used to combat terrorism?
  2. One-to-one computing for Chile – is it worth it?
  3. Should Indonesia impose more stringent capital controls?
  4. The Costs and Benefits of a US$3 Billion Factory: Should Development Aid be used to expand the Mozal Mega-Project?
  5. Is stock market development a feasible and desirable channel for the sustainability of Botswana's growth?
  6. Charter City in Honduras - alternative for classical development aid?
  7. Should Mexico issue Diaspora Bonds?
  8. Microfinance in India: should the recently proposed regulation be introduced?
  9. Management of oil revenues: Should Angola create a Sovereign Wealth fund?

It takes a bit of a "gestalt switch" to do what is required here - start with the recommendation, say clearly why you favor it, think about counter-arguments, sum up. How did it work? For my part, I would say it was a pretty impressive show (pics here)

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