SBA and ETA… and behavioral nutrition

The Small Business Administration requested a budget of about $1.2b in 2013. The Employment and Training Administration requested a budget of about $3.2b.

To study:

  1. Which administration meets its own goals better?
  2. Which administration contributes more to economic welfare?
  3. Which administration creates more employment? Which administration creates better employment?
  4. Which administration actually helps more people, which people, and how?
  5. Why don’t we have a (possibly government-funded) microfinance system in the US?*

*Better question: why don’t we have a microfinance system in the US while India has an extensive one? Poor Economics (Banerjee & Duflo, 2012) makes a case for and against microfinance, and what I took away from the microfinance chapter doesn’t seem like it couldn’t apply to the much-less-but-still-very poor. They discuss in great detail how the very poor behave, and yet don’t do a great job of distinguishing the behavior of the absolute poor (<$1 a day in a corrugated steel hut) from that of the relative poor (<$18,000 a year in a project).

And somewhat unrelated: how big a role does the “effort exhaustion” effect in Thinking Fast and Slow (Kahneman, 2011) play in poor diet and lifestyle choices by the working poor and people in general? Can the negative outcomes of trying to help people by telling them what to do (“you shouldn’t drink soda, it’s bad for you and you are stupid” versus “check out how good fresh squeezed OJ tastes”) have a macro-level effect?

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One response to “SBA and ETA… and behavioral nutrition

  1. Pingback: Microfinance in the US? | Lots of Bad Ideas

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