Two funny things happened yesterday. The first involving the World Bank, the second involving Bisnis Indonesia.
Just the other day I happened to remark on the fact that there big problems in the World Bank’s mission in Indonesia–people sit in beautiful offices and have collegial discussions about neo-classical economics, but then you head to the street and people are eking out a living with little regard to precise estimation of the elasticity of public demand for cash versus bank deposits. Blah. Nevertheless, I found myself seduced by the academic atmosphere there. Plus, the Indonesian government really has no idea what to do in terms of policy interventions, so in several cases they just say "fine, whatever, do an experiment," and punt it to the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank., For someone from America’s center for field experiments in the social sciences, this is such a tempting opportunity. To seal the deal, the head of mission told me that I should contact him if I’m looking for a job after graduation. I only have about a billion experiments in mind for Indonesia. Here’s a way to precisely measure corruption, for example: gather a pool of trusted informants and randomly assign them across the archipelago to attempt to start a company. The final cost to start the company above and beyond statutory requirements represents an unbiased and consistent index of corruption that measures within-country variation.
The other funny thing is not quite so funny, just a little silly. I’ve been trying to track down a reporter at Bisnis Indonesia to discuss some stuff for my research. I had a meeting with him scheduled for yesterday, but he wasn’t there when I showed up. Turns out, his friend had an accute attack of kanker anus and he had to take him to the hospital. That is one excuse that I will definitely accept.