Friday, February 20, 2009

Bourses de la Banque mondiale dans le domaine du developpement

La competition annuelle pour les bourses de la Banque Mondiale dans le domaine du developpement est en cours. La plupart des ressortissants des pays en developpement sont eligibles a ces bourses, notamment au Programme de bourses universitaires Japon/ Banque mondiale (JJ/WBGSP) qui finance des etudes superieures ( Master, DEA, etc.) dans des universites de renom a travers le monde.

Si vous etes interesses, visitez le site de la Banque Mondiale pour vous impregner des criteres et procedure de selection. Hatez vous, car la date limite de depots des candidatures est fixee au 31 mars 2009.

World Bank's Scholarships

The annual competition for the World Bank's scholarships is underway. Most mid-career professionals from developing countries are eligible to apply for the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program which funds advanced studies (Master programmes) in leading universities across the world.

Interested? Visit the World Bank's website for eligibility criteria and how to apply. You should hurry up because the application deadline is on 31 March, 2009.

Call for papers on development issues 2009

The Institute of Social Studies(ISS), a leading European centre for development studies, has lauched its 7th Development Dialogue conference on " Setting the Agenda for Development". The conference will be held between 2 and 3 June, 2009 at ISS in The Hague.

The Development Dialogue is a yearly international meeting organised by PhD students at ISS to foster exchange of research results between young scholars and PhD students working in different fields of development studies.

Please send an abstract of your work in English (max. 500 words) to Moushira Elgeziri ( by 31 March 2009. Further information on the conference can be accessed through the website of ISS.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bourses d’études et de design dans le domaine de l'environnement

Dans le cadre du programme Pauvrete Urbaine et Environnement(PURE), le Centre de Recherches pour le Developpement International (CRDI) du Canada lance un appel a candidatures pour l'octroi de bourses de recherche et de design dans des domaines lies a la gestion de l'environnement dans les pays en developpement.

Les conditions de participation sont les suivantes:
  • "Citoyenneté canadienne ou statut de résident permanent, ou preuve de citoyenneté d’un pays en développement
  • Inscription dans un programme universitaire (cycles supérieurs) dans une université (du Nord ou du Sud) laquelle dispense un enseignement spécialisé et dirigé dans le champ de recherche proposée, pour toute la durée de la période visée par la bourse
  • Proposition de projet de recherche ou de design en vue d’une thèse de maîtrise ou de doctorat approuvée par le directeur/comité de thèse
  • Projet de recherche ou de design sera exécuté dans un pays en développement
  • Rattachement attesté à (au moins) un établissement d’enseignement supérieur (université) ainsi qu’à (au moins) un autre organisme non universitaire* de la région dans laquelle le projet de recherche ou de design doit se dérouler
  • Cours requis (maîtrise et doctorat) et examen de synthèse (doctorat) terminés avec succès avant le début de la période visée par la bourse."

Les dossiers de candidaure doivent parvenir au CRDI au plus tard le 15 Mai 2009. Les noms des laureats seront annoncés au plus tard le 15 juillet 2009. Pour plus de renseignements, visiter le site du CRDI.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Olivier Blanchard says that uncertainty feeds current global economic crisis

I remember Olivier Blanchard as the author of "Macroeconomics, 4th edition", a textbook in my Macroeconomics class at Carnegie Mellon Universty's Heinz College Australia in 2007. Blanchard who was then teaching Economics at MIT is now IMF's chief economist.

In a guest article in The Economist on January 29th 2009, he shows how subjective uncertainty, what is known in the field as the "unknown unknows"( in contrast to the "known unknowns"), is affecting negatively the behaviours of investors, consumers, and firms. Indeed, investors are now willing to hold only the safest financial assets such as U.S. T-bills in view of the complexity of current economic environment, and consumers and firms prefer to delay spending and investment decisions because it makes sense to wait and see "if you think that another Drepression might be on the corner".

As a result, the world is witnessing "enormous spreads on risky assets, a credit crunch in advanced economies, and major capital outflows from emerging countries" not forgetting to mention the drastic fall in demand for goods and services. All these factors have contributed to trigger global recession.

Blanchard recommends policies to reduce uncertainty by improving the health of private financial sector through recaptilisation, transfert of funds back to emerging countries. Stronger fiscal stimulus such as temporary subsidies to consumers, government spending on infrastructure should also be implemented to induce consumers to consume more and now and to encourage investment.

But the increase in spending as an effective way to handling the crisis seems to be a hot issue in the U.S. Alberto Alesina, a Professor of Political Economy at Harvard University says it is tricky to ask Americans to spend more now after having blamed them for saving too little.

The debate on Blanchard's article, animated by leading economists around the world, offers a more comprehensive view of the challenges facing policy makers right now. More importantly, it focuses on the psychological drivers of the current economic crisis. It is a must for anyone trying to understand why a quick recovery from a crisis like this is hard to achieve.

Commenting on an article in The Economist in December 2008, I put it this way:'' I guess economists have been clueless on how to handle the psychological problems of market actors in this financial crisis so far.The Fed's decisive move aims at stimulating the economy through consumer spending and investment.But there is no evidence that consumers and investors will respond positively in the face of gloomy job prospects and uncertainty across several industries.Let's combat now the opposite of irrational exuberance..."

Well, I learned by following the discussion on Blanchard's article that human psychology is an area of active research by economists. For example, Robert Shiller, Professor of Economics at Yale University, and his colleague,George Akerlof , have just published a book on the subjet entitled:"Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It matters for Global Capitalism".

In African countries, the "fear of the fear itself" leads financial institutions and investors to hoard cash, consumers to consume less , and firms to invest inadequately. In short, uncertainty is hampering our economic growth.