One popular statistical software package in academia is Stata. CGD has always used it, and thus so have I. As my colleague Mead Over pointed out, Stata's business model is an interesting mix of private and public goods provision. The private corporation profits by cultivating a public free-software community on top of its core product. Stata sells you the main program, which includes commands to perform all sorts of analyses.
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Last Thursday and Friday I attended a symposium on "Microfinance 3.0" hosted by the German Development Bank (KfW) in Berlin. KfW was created under the Marshall Plan to finance the reconstruction of West Germany and to this day lends primarily within the borders of Germany. I was told its portfolio is worth €500 billion.
If you're in town, you might like the Christmas Revels show. My English sword dance group has a number near the end, and I'll probably join a few other dance bits. Here's some video from the 2008 show. My group, Cutting Edge, appears at 1:04. I don't know if what we're doing looks hard, but it is! Shows are the coming two weekends. Tickets here.
Apparently a spot has opened up in senior management at a major microcredit and development organization in Bangladesh. Here's the "help wanted" ad recently placed in the Daily Star to fill the position (HT Todd Bernhardt of the Grameen Foundation). Maybe you can figure out which organization is hiring? Maybe you know someone who fits the description?
In August, Reinhard "Harry" Schmidt sent me a thoughtful note about my book, of the sort authors are lucky to receive even once. It contained praise, yes, but also an intelligent list of conceptual realms I had missed or underemphasized, mostly having to do with the challenges of architecting durable financial institutions for the poor.
For so long I was focused on the important but narrow question of what microfinance does to human beings. It was a good question to probe because a lot of people are interested in it, and various researchers and practitioners have contended over the answer.