Although Adam Smith delved into religion in his 1776 Wealth of Nations, mainstream economists have historically stayed clear. This has recently changed[i] and as I cycled through the Holy Land back in April with fellow economist & stoker Mike Biggs, we reflected on whether economics can be used to analysis religious activity and, perhaps more interestingly, whether religion can help to explain regional differences in economic development[ii]
Faisal sells ful (Arabic equivalent of baked beans on toast) & chaai (tea) in a windswept shack on the side of the desert road in northern Sudan. In his spare time he digs in the local area for gold…
Faisal with his latest findTags: africa economics, gold price, a level economics, Stuart Block, Beyond the Bike, Economic Cycle Read More
When my old boss told me that observing UK inflation flying above 3% would be an exciting moment in my career as an economist in London, I knew it was time to leave. Most African policymakers, meanwhile, would be delighted to see single digit inflation. I’ve discussed the challenges of formulating monetary policy as well as for the broader economy with two central bankers en route so far…Tags: Monetary Policy, african economics, beyond the bike, stuart block, uganda, south africa Read More
Joseph is 29 years old and makes a living selling vehicle parts in the dusty trucker town of Igawu in Southern Tanzania. When he approached me during my breakfast and flashed 2 fresh $100 bills, I was naturally interested to know where they came from. I offered him a ride north to find out…Tags: mobile banking, africa, remittance payments, mpesa, Beyond the Bike, Stuart Block, the economic cycle Read More
In the UK, the department of transport uses a figure of £1.2m per human life when carrying out cost benefit analysis for new transport projects, for example the building of a new, safer road. I'm not sure the road agencies in Africa attempt the same level of analysis but perhaps it is a useful concept to explain road safety, or the lack of it...Tags: economic value of life, the economic cycle, value of life in africa, Beyond the Bike Read More
"Mzungu, show me the muni!" is the constant request from kids that have greeted me on the side on the road in Malawi. Three questions spring to mind from these experiences: 1) Have all the kids been watching too much Jerry Maguire 2) What is money and what is its primary function in this part of the world? 3) Would giving the kids or anyone here money help them?
Tags: malawian economy, africa, a level economics, FX, money Read More
A recent economic study1 found that bicycle ownership can boost household income in sub-Saharan Africa by 35%. I may be biased given my passion for cycling but I think there are indeed some very strong economic arguments for encouraging more bicycles both in the developing and the developed world.
The bicycle: more than just a mode of transportTags: zambikes, africa, bicycles, zambia, Economics, transport policy, sustainable development, externalities, columbia university Read More
If Africa was a physical battleground between east & west during the cold war of the 20th Century, it can arguably be seen today as the ideological 21st Century battleground between the difference approaches to promoting economic development: the western aid model versus the Chinese trade model. Is the Sino-Africa relationship mutually beneficial? I certainly don't claim to have a comprehensive answer to this but it has been interesting talking to Africans on my journey so far about their perception of this, particularly in Zambia...Tags: education, Economics, china, zambia, africa Read More
The concept of this 'economic cycle blog' was part conceived in Kirkady, the Scottish town which I passed through in my UK warm up ride in 2010. It was most famous in the late 18th century for producing Adam Smith and his seminal work ‘An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations'.Tags: tutor 2U, Economic Cycle, education, africa, cycling Read More