Friday, January 9, 2009

Links of Interest (01/09/2009)

  1. Reservation policy, which gives voters the ability to observe the effectiveness of women leaders, does work in improving women’s access in politics and reducing discrimination, argue Duflo, Pande, Topalova, Chattopadhyay, and Beaman. Paper here. (I wrote an opinion piece (The Economics of Reservation) supporting reservation policy in government scholarships and public sector jobs in Nepal. Nepal has one of the highest women representations in parliament in the world- a product of this positive discriminatory policy.)
  2. Keynes advocated regulating the economy through investment, not consumption, combined with a low and permanent rate of interest, writes Peter Clarke.
  3. The importance of great managers
  4. It is wrong to assume that emerging markets won’t recover until America rebounds.
  5. The meager benefits of the Doha Round, trade and development

The authors argue that this failure is largely attributable to a lack of understanding of the Sri Lankan context characterised by:

  • a multi-party system with governments often held together in fragile coalitions
  • strong cultural values attached to water
  • a vocal civil society fearful of water privatisation, and
  • a politicised media willing to exploit controversies

The guiding principle of the projects was that Sri Lanka’s water resources management should be holistic and efficient. This new policy introduced a number of unfamiliar approaches to the sector, some of which were highly controversial, including the idea of entitlements (ownership rights to water) and water tariffs to introduce demand management.

Coming after controversial attempts to institutionalise land reforms in Sri Lanka, and high profile cases of water privatisation elsewhere in the world, these moves were seen by some civil society groups as steps towards commodification and privatisation of water resources.
The focus on efficiency and increasing tariff were seen a threat to paddy cultivation and small farmers, causing public anger, while endogenously-designed strategies for water conservation were ignored as possible alternatives to entitlements and demand-management. (Source: Eldis)