IMG_0478Dr. Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse (IFRPI, Ethiopia) at NYU Africa House

My good friend and colleague gave a great talk the other day.  It was on aspirations.  His basic argument is that there is something called “aspirations” that people have in their heads.  Their work effort depends upon the level of these aspirations.  The aspirations can be changed by providing information.  His work involves showing Ethiopian farmers TV programs – some positive, some placebo.  Those with the positive images had higher levels of aspirations. His paper/slides can be found here.

I think that this work is great.  I prefer interpreting the work as one involving models of learning. You learn what is possible by getting information (including TV programs).  If you are a villager you may learn, for example, that it is actually not impossible for a villager to get a loan from a bank – this will help you aspire to better things.

I am doing work with Alemayehu on our Ethiopia Coffee Commodities Markets project.  Great guy – more information about his work can be found here. He has also sent over some of his more philosophical writing – focus on the “people perspective”. Click here for his essay – Enjoy!

Y. Nyarko

About The International Food Policy Research Institute

IFPRI is an international agricultural research center founded in the early 1970s to improve the understanding of national agricultural and food policies to promote the adoption of innovations in agricultural technology. Additionally, IFPRI was meant to shed more light on the role of agricultural and rural development in the broader development pathway of a country The mission of IFPRI is to seek sustainable solutions for ending hunger and poverty through research.

IFPRI carries out food policy research and disseminates it through hundreds of publications, bulletins, conferences, and other initiatives. IFPRI was organized as a District of Columbia non-profit, non-stock corporation on March 5, 1975 and its first research bulletin was produced in February 1976. IFPRI has offices in several developing countries, including China, Ethiopia, and India, and has research staff working in many more countries around the world. Most of the research takes place in developing countries in Central America, South America, Africa, and Asia.

IFPRI is part of a network of international research institutes funded in part by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which in turn is funded by governments, private businesses and foundations, and the World Bank