We estimate that access to the Kenyan mobile money system M-PESA increased per capita consumption levels and lifted 194,000 households, or 2% of Kenyan households, out of poverty.
- That’s from Tavneet Suri and Billy Jack reporting in Science (ungated) based on observations over six years that when M-PESA mobile money spread into an area, poverty went down, particularly for female-headed households. It appears to have induced women to switch from agriculture to business occupations.
- Hidden Brain tells the story of public health workers in Liberia who had to solve a murder, track down the killers before the police, and convince them to come into treatment to prevent an Ebola outbreak. (if you’re scrolling in iTunes, look for “54: Panic in the Streets'”)
- And for lighter listening, the Slice of MIT podcast tracks down the students who a decade ago pulled the epic prank of stealing a 2-ton historic cannon from rival Caltech’s California campus. It showed up early one morning in the middle of MIT’s campus wearing a giant gold MIT class ring. (in iTunes scroll back to “Secrets of the Caltech Cannon Heist”)
- Dani Rodrik talks about how hard it has been to point out the downsides of free trade, when it’s assumed to be a central tenet of modern economic views.
- After Rwanda’s genocide, the world said never again. It’s happening again in South Sudan.
- Rio’s mayor proposes helping tourism by offering mugging insurance. (h/t Marginal Revolution).
- Gambian voters ousted the strongman leader of 22 years in an election.