Non-cognitive skills, defined as individual differences that are independent of cognitive ability, are used within economics and policy to understand and improve labor market outcomes and reduce anti-social behavior. These measures are now being used in sub-Saharan Africa to capture “softer” outcomes of interventions with young people in particular. Having first defined non-cognitive skills and described how they are measured, this chapter then presents critiques relating to their relative insensitivity to culture and class. This argument as to the context specificity of non-cognitive skills is supported with qualitative and quantitative data generated with young entrepreneurs from Uganda and South Africa.
Michelle R. Garfinkel
This article considers the importance of disagreement between citizens within the nation over the provision of public goods, aside from security against external threats, focusing specifically on how democratic political institutions matter in the emergence of interstate war versus peace. The discussion highlights, where there is disagreement within a nation, the influence of electoral uncertainty to increase the extent to which the nation's leaders discount the future, including the future benefits of arming and initiating war or entering into a peaceful settlement. At the same time, it highlights the effects of checks and balances, associated with democratic institutions, to enhance the ability of leaders to mobilize resources. Although democratic peace is a possibility, it does not necessarily follow.
This article reflects on the civil wars in Africa, the continent with the greatest problem. It concentrates on the importance of governments' ability to commit to transfers to avoid war, and the role which international organizations, domestic institutions, and even individual leaders can play in enhancing that ability to commit. Africa, in particular, has been the theater of many civil wars since the end of the cold war, while it remains the most backward continent despite some promising developments in a dozen countries. The theory of conflict prevention presents the main inputs that must be provided by a peace-minded government.
Michelle R. Garfinkel, Stergios Skaperdas, and Constantinos Syropoulos
This article explores settings in which international trade takes place in insecure environments or, alternatively, in the shadow of power. The first setting focuses on the case of two countries when trade between them is itself insecure. There, the country that produces the more highly valued good tends to have a comparative disadvantage in arming, less power, and thus lower income. In a setting in which there is an insecure input, countries might prefer autarky to free trade, and that comparative advantage can be distorted relative to what would prevail in the absence of insecurity.