Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Beta software that I recommend

A few suggestions:
QGis- GIS software that opens shape files. Almost an ArcView replacement;
PSPP- SPSS for the poor. Still very far from the real-thing, but it works;
Ubiquity- fantastic firefox extension.
All are cross-platform and free. BTW, why don't you install Ubuntu? This Thursday a new version (8.10) is going to be released.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The causes of the Great Depression

Mankiw summarizes the research on the causes of the Great Depression. Eichengreen, Romer and Temim among others have shown that there is a lot to do in the field. As Bernanke said: “To understand the Great Depression is the Holy Grail of macroeconomics”. I must add: ",especially in interesting times".

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Resource curse and the current crisis

Recent international experience supports the resource curse hyphotesis : resource rich countries, mainly when the resources are extracted from a narrow geographic or economic base, tend to have bad institutions and slow growth in the long run. Dube & Vargas have shown the relationship between coffee and oil prices and civil conflict in Colombia (HT Dani Rodrik).
Commodity prices are tumbling, so what will happen? Now there will be no money for useless stuff and the economic reasons for a coup have weakened. I am afraid however that there is a ratchet effect: dictators will stay in power, playing the nationalist card.