Author Archives: Richard Curtain

Lifting skills in the Pacific: using infrastructure procurement for skills transfer

If it was good enough for the London Olympics in 2012, why not use large infrastructure projects in the Pacific region to do more than merely build a new facility? Why not also aim, as the UK’s Olympic Delivery Authority did, to get people into jobs, develop their skills and help them gain top-rate qualifications? The Authority followed EU procurement requirements. However, it also wanted to give young people better […] Continue reading

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What future for the seasonal worker program? A conference report

A conference to launch the Australian Government’s Seasonal Worker Program was held in Sydney on 1-3 August 2012. It attracted a large number of participants from the Pacific and Timor-Leste. Also present were industry association representatives, and a few employment services (labour hire) companies and growers from the main industry it is serving, namely horticulture. The official description of the Seasonal Worker Program, the new permanent program which in July […] Continue reading

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Why Nations Fail review part II: relevance to Timor-Leste & the Pacific

The persistence of extractive political and economic institutions is the starting point for Acemoglu and Robinson’s analysis of Why Nations Fail. I outlined their main arguments in Part I of this review. Acemoglu and Robinson argue that ruling elites ensure that a country’s institutions act to serve their interests and direct economic benefits to them. The dead hand of the past shapes how the state acts now. For countries administered […] Continue reading

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The effects of aid dependence and the recommendations of the World Bank draft Discussion Note ‘Pacific Futures’

The World Bank draft Discussion Note ‘Pacific Futures’, July 2011 (available here), offers some new ideas based on the constraints imposed by the economic geography of the Pacific. However, what is missing from the analysis is any discussion of the impact of the past failure to use foreign aid productively on each country’s political and economic institutions. In particular, has aid dependence over many years shaped key institutions in recipient […] Continue reading

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