Beyond the Bike

Stories from Stuart and Claire's original & recent journeys….

What Can Religion tell us about Economic Development?

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]

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Goldigging in Sudan...

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 find

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Monetary Policy in Africa.... not for the faint hearted

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…

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The Importance of Remittance Payments & Mobile Banking in Africa…

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…

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What is the value of life in Africa?

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...

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Show me the Money... Jerry Maguire and other lessons from Malawi

"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?


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