New paper: On Exchange Rate Policy Independence: Experiences from West Africa

I have a new paper in the Journal of Development Perspectives "On Exchange Rate Policy Independence: Experiences from West Africa".

TL;DR Might be useful to have legislative protections for central bankers with regards to exchange rate policy.

Paper linked here. Or if you email nicely I can send it to you.

New Research: Prison labour: The price of prisons and the lasting effects of incarceration

I have some new research with my colleague at Barnard College. It looks at the colonial prison system, its abuse as a tool for labour coercion, and some of the longer term implications.

You can read a good summary we wrote for VoxDev here.

Or if you are up for it, the long paper is free to read here.

Regards,

Nonso.

Remote work silver linings?

I tuned into a webinar recently and when the speakers were not freaking out about COVID-19, they all seemed to be focused on one thing: remote work. Due to the need for social distancing and lock-downs, almost every business has had to think about how to keep their businesses going without needing their employees to come in to work. The context in which people were thinking about this tended to be in relation to their own specific businesses but I do wonder if this pandemic has opened new doors.

Think about it. If you are a random firm doing business in Kentucky and you have been able to effectively keep services going while your workers are at home, also in Kentucky, then does it really matter where your workers are? Would it then matter if your workers are in Sao Paulo or Mumbai or Lagos? If the firm has suddenly been able to build capacity to function effectively with remote workers then are they going to forget it after the pandemic? The global economy tends to change significantly after every major global incident and I wonder if the changes that we will see post COVID-19 will revolve around the outsourcing of jobs.

The driver of the manufacturing outsourcing boom was the desire to take advantage of cheaper wages and other associated costs around the world. The same can be said for some jobs too. Why wouldn’t firms opt to pay someone in Jos to do the same job at lower costs than they had to pay someone in Kentucky. Especially if they now know the job really can be done remotely without hiccups?

From the perspective of people in Jos, what can they do to exploit some of these new opportunities that are bound to spring up once the world gets over this COVID-19 line? Just thinking out loud. And wondering if I will be able to teach at a random university in Adelaide without ever having to move there?

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