My colleague Karol Boudreaux and her team are presenting the fruit of their research tomorrow in New York (see here). They will also be in Washington DC the rest of the week. Karol has done important research in various parts of Africa over the past two years showing how the enterprising spirit is alive among Africans and in what way it can contribute to development and the reduction of poverty.
The event in New York is jointly organized by The Mercatus Center at George Mason University, by Africa House at New York University, and by the Stern business school at NYU. William Easterly will be speaking tomorrow in New York and Pete Boettke will also address some issues in the field of development. The event tomorrow has more than 250 people registered, including many economists from NYU, and people from various international agencies.
The work of Karol and her team is very important as it shows that not only small pockets of entrepreneurship can exist in terrible conditions (something social scientists have known for a long time), but also that entrepreneurship, under small improvements in the institutional environment, can be more systemic—i.e., occur on a wide basis touching the lives of many. Indeed, in my view, one of the keys to understanding development is to explain the mechanisms by which entrepreneurship moves from local to systemic. It is a very difficult problem, and Karol’s work has moved us a little bit further towards a solution.