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Mexico City - 1986 (left), 2011 (right)

Bill and Melinda Gates debunk three myths

The 2014 Gates Annual Letter is out. You should read the entire letter. But since my exhortation may not be sufficient, I’ll present a few teasers from the three myths. Myth #1: Poor countries are doomed to stay poor The global picture of poverty has been completely redrawn in my lifetime. Per-person incomes in Turkey […]

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Understanding moral hazards, moral imperatives and informal insurance

I recently re-read Chapter 6 of Poor Economics (Barefoot Hedge-Fund Managers) because I was looking for a savings intervention RCT. I haven’t found that RCT yet but a related story — about how the poor help each other and how they don’t — provides insights into what kind of interventions might work for the poor. […]

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Belo (Brazil's 3rd largest city) - Pic courtesy

Hunger Alleviation Lessons from Belo Horizonte

[Editor’s Note: (Sep 12, 2012): According to this Newslaundry editorial, Samar Halamkar (on whose column I based this post) might have indulged in plagiarism. Until I figure out what action I need to take, I’ve made no changes to my original post.] “Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food but a scarcity of […]

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RSBY: a government initiative that (Gasp!) seems to work

[Editor’s Note: RSBY expands to Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (Hindi for “National Health Insurance Policy”). The brainchild of IAS officer and Director General of Ministry of Labour and Employment, Anil Swarup, the scheme was formally launched in 2008 to provide health insurance coverage for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families. I first heard Anil Swarup speak on […]

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Graphic courtesy (Source: United Nations)

Key nuggets from Bill Gates’ Annual Letter 2012 – Global Health

This is Part 2 of TechSangam’s review of the 2012 Annual Letter from Bill Gates. The Gates letter covers 4 broad areas – Innovation in Agriculture, Global Health, US Education, and Foundation Updates and this post includes key insights from the Global Health area. When Melinda and I started this work more than a decade ago, we […]

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Key nuggets from Bill Gates’ Annual Letter 2012 – Innovation in Agriculture

If you have time, you really should read the complete text of the 2012 Annual Letter from Bill Gates. But I know you live in a multi-screen world with thousands of tweets, status updates, and vids clamoring for your attention every waking moment so I’ll do some of the heavy lifting (sorry, “curating”) instead. The […]

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For a few nutrients more... (Pic courtesy

Nine Key Takeaways from HUNGaMA Survey on Hunger and Malnutrition

In our continued coverage of Naandi Foundation’s HUNGaMA survey, we’ll look at the nine key takeaways in this post. [For the truly brave, here’s the link to the 139-page PDF that we’ll continue to harvest for additional insights.] The earlier post in this series was What we can expect from Naandi Foundation’s HUNGaMA survey. But […]

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Indian security guard (Pic: courtesy Flickr/ayaschok)

A handicapped security guard and the promise of his talented daughter

[Editor’s Note: Apologies for the 9 days of hiatus in blogging. It was my first vacation since I started writing this blog. To pile on the excuses, it was my first vacation where my wife was working – so there! Wishing you all a Happy New Year and pledging that I’ll continue to strive to […]

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Top Takeaways from Banerjee and Duflo’s Poor Economics

If you’ve been following this blog for sometime, you know that I consider Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo’s Poor Economics as a bible of sorts — to understand poverty, understand the psyche and motivations of the extremely poor, and the power of Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) to fairly assess efficacy of anti-poverty programs. Several posts […]

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Borrowing from MFI to save for daughter’s dowry?

SKS Microfinance Ltd, India’s largest and only listed microlender, said its losses widened in the second quarter from the preceding three months as repayment rates in Andhra Pradesh, its biggest market, plunged after a local law restricted lending and recovery. The Hyderabad-based lender posted a loss of Rs. 384.54 crore in the three months ended […]

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