25 February, 2010

Geeking out

Sort of an embarrassment of riches this week at UT Austin:
Tonight, I'm off to hear Mary Robinson speak at the LBJ School. [Free passes still avail. @ Union]
Actually headed for a brown bag session with her this afternoon. Not that I don't have a heap of work to do on deadline...
And, I just found out that MIT Econ Prof. Esther Duflo is lecturing on poverty and microfinance tomorrow on campus. [3:30-5 p.m. ACES Bldg., Rm 2.302, FREE]

O.k., well, it's exciting to a poverty and human rights geek like me...


Anonymous said...

How was Esther Duflo?

Unknown said...

Interesting. She discussed the evaluation of a microfinance program in India. I'll be glad to share my notes and a copy of the report. The gist is that while they found MFLs to be solid financial tool for people who otherwise would have to depend on informal, often high-interest loans, they saw no real change in social development benchmarks, like education rates and increases in women's spending power. She pointed out that while MF may not be the magic solution some make it out to be it shouldn't simply be tossed aside, that it can produce positives (just maybe not all we're hoping). And she's just cool. Said there are similar eval projects going on at the moment, including a country-wide study in Morocco that I'll be interested to see the findings when they come in later this year.

You should read up on her and the JPL @ MIT.
See you tomorrow at The Good Knight!