Lykke E. Andersen

21 reasons why you should never date an economist (Anniversary edition)

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

Today I have been married 20 years to an economist, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to update our favorite Development Roast post of all time (21 reasons why you should never date an economist), taking advantage of the creative feedback of our readers at the time.

Here is my updated list of the 21 best reasons never to date an economist:

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On politics and parallel universes

By: Lykke E. Andersen

I usually don’t write about politics because I worry more about the long-run, structural obstacles to development, instead of bothering about short-term wriggles, which tend to work themselves out quickly. However, I do worry that the upcoming US election might affect the long-run direction of development not only in the United States, but in the entire World. In addition, the whole thing has turned so bizarre that I am beginning to believe in parallel universes, and I fear that a wormhole has opened up, which will make people from these two separate universes vote in the same election, with very unpredictable results.

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Equality of opportunity and early childhood nutrition in Bolivia

By: Lykke E. Andersen

Creating equality of opportunity is one of the most important roles of the government in any country. It is about leveling the playing field, so that children born into disadvantaged families (through no fault of their own, obviously) will not automatically become disadvantaged themselves and will not automatically transmit these disadvantages to their own children. It is about breaking the vicious cycle and intergenerational transmission of poverty.

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To bee or not to bee? Is the world really facing a beepocalypse?

By Lykke E. Andersen

Like many people, I hate insects, especially the ones that sting or bite; and spiders simply for being spiders. Still, like many people, I regularly worry about the collapse of the honey bee population, since, apart from producing honey and wax, they are clearly very important for fertilizing a large proportion of our crops and wild plants. These regular worries are caused by alarming news articles such as:

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What to do about international migration

What to do about international migration

By: Lykke E. Andersen

Inequality is becoming an increasingly concerning issue and recently 176 countries agreed that one of the Sustainable Development Goals for the next 15 years should be to “reduce inequality within and among countries.” One of the specific targets associated with this goal is to “facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.”[1]

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Where are the poor in Bolivia?

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

Two of the Sustainable Development Goals recently agreed by all the member states of United Nations are to reduce poverty and to reduce inequality, and for those goals to be realized, the incomes of the poorest 40% of the population have to increase. Designing policies to reduce poverty and inequality at the very least requires us to know where to find the target population. In this blog I will argue that they are probably not where you think they would be. Read More »

Does Education Pay in Bolivia?

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

Returns to education in Bolivia have been dropping steadily over the last 15 years, to the point that some researchers have argued that education no longer pays[i]. Nevertheless, a record number of young people are in school or university. Are they all wasting their time?

In this blog we will explore what has happened to the returns to education in Bolivia over the last 15 years, using standard household surveys (as well as the students in my Microeconometrics II course at UPB). Read More »

Energy = Modern Civilization²

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

The World’s most famous equation is undoubtedly Einstein’s E=mc2, and while it stipulates that the total amount of energy in the Universe is constant and cannot be created nor destroyed, only transformed, I will argue that the harnessing of energy for human purposes is what has made the exponential growth of our civilization possible. Read More »

Changing Wealth – Changing Health

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By: Lykke E. Andersen*

Bolivia has recently changed from a low income country to a lower-middle income country, and with that increase in incomes the disease burden has also changed. In 1990, Bolivia’s disease burden was dominated by infectious diseases and maternal health problems (pink group), which is typical of poor countries. By 2013, however, the blue group, which encompasses non-communicable diseases (such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and mental disorders) has become dominant, as it typically is in richer countries (see Figure 1). Read More »

The Many Dimensions of Inequality

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

“The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed”
William Gibson

The scale of inequality in this world is almost unfathomable. In 2013, the average inhabitant of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Qatar earned more in one day than what the average inhabitant of Malawi and Burundi earned during an entire year[1]. Apart from the staggering between-country inequality, there is also vast and increasing inequality within countries. According to United Nations, on average—and taking into account population size—income inequality increased by 11 per cent in developing countries between 1990 and 2010[2]. Currently, about 60% of the variation in incomes across the globe is explained by country citizenship alone, while another 20% is explained by parental income class[3]. This means that at least 80% of the variation in incomes are determined already by birth, leaving less than 20% to be determined by own effort, ingenuity, planning, determination, risk-taking and passion. Thus, the world is not just a place of huge inequality of outcomes, but also of huge inequality of opportunity. Read More »

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