Chris Blattman

IPA’s weekly links

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.

  • Harold Pollack writes in Vox about a paper (here) analyzing credit card reform. The CARD credit card act included both hard regulation (elimination of fees) and a nudge (providing information about timely payments on statements). The nudge did relatively little, but the fee reform saved credit card customers billions. Card issuers made the most from those with the lowest credit scores, with the increased fees more than offsetting the risk of default:

    “Fees exceed 30 percent of ADB [average daily balance] for every FICO category below 560, compared with about 3 percent for accounts with FICO scores above 700 — roughly the top half of the distribution.”

  • The youngest owner of a private Gulfstream jet is Malawian, the pastor Prophet Shepherd Bushiri (the $37m Gulfstream III is his third private jet), who announced it on Facebook. Sociologist Ebenezer Obadare writes about the political power of wealthy Pentecostal ministers in Nigeria on the LSE blog here.
  • A new Medium publication, The Development Set, looks critically at the world of development. This article cautions against the “seduction of other people’s problems,” and imagines a Ugandan idealist who wants to help the problems of gun violence in the U.S. She moves to America to set up an NGO or social enterprise to help, only to find the roots of the problem complex and tied up with intractable politics. (h/t Kim Yi Dionne)
  • A working paper looks at the effects of an aid program during conflict in the Philippines. The program worked, though mostly through better governance rather than aid spending, but the effects were ultimately offset because rebels relocated to other communities, lowering welfare there. (h/t Justin Sandefur)
  • FiveThirtyEight is starting an econ column, for the next 24 hours you can vote for the name here.

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