What I am reading right now

Siaya is hot and rainy – it rains every day in the afternoon. I am not kidding.

This has allowed me time to read when I am not hanging out with my extended family or doing some of my own work.

I finally started reading Portfolios of the Poor. Fascinating read, especially now that I am spending some time in Siaya. My time in Siaya has also made me think that poverty is not just about small, irregular and uncertain cash flow. It is also about ideas and mindsets. I have talked to quite a few people who would be living in better dwellings and eating better if only they had the right ideas. I have seen theoretical works in evolutionary game theory on inter-generational transfer of ideas and stuff, but almost no empirical social-scientific work on the uptake of ideas within communities.

I am also reading Fukuyama’s Origins of Political Order. Great book, with echoes of Huntington all over the place. I have my issues with Huntington and his scions but the fundamental concept of the degree of government being an indispensable precondition for political competition and socio-political development is hard to ignore. I highly recommend this book.

Lastly, I am almost done with Poor Economics. Great read for those not well versed with the amazing world of RCTs. I happen to be one leaning more towards structural reforms rather than targeted program interventions, but it is still a good read nonetheless.

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