October 02, 2010
Um, The Struggle Continues?
Posted by David Zaring

I'm a bit late to this, but this speech by World Bank head Robert Zoellick, a lawyer, ripping into the applicability of economic research to development is pretty interesting.  He's even unsure that randomized controlled trials, the current gold standard, is scalable enough to be useful.  Why is the head of the World Bank denouncing economics?

I am not an economist. Enough said, you may argue. Why meddle? Why open such a Pandora’s Box? For the simple reason that policymakers look to economics, and policymakers in developing countries look to development economics even more. It matters.

Anyway, he wants to make the data collected by the bank, and the tools developed by it, much more open source, which would appeal, presumably, to open source zealots like Yochai Benkler and Matt Bodie.  And he even says that, given that every fast developing country has pushed industrial policy pretty far, that maybe we ought to look again at that bugaboo of free market enthusiasts.  Dani Rodrik is impressed.

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