OK. Don’t get too excited. This is going to build very, very, very slowly. And it’ll probably never be the Complete Dictionary of Development. (Actually, if anyone finds a good dictionary of development online, let me know). But every time I see a word I don’t know, and I look it up, I’ll record the definition here.

  • PPP: Purchasing Power Parity. A method of accounting for different prices in different countries, PPP measures according to the ability of money to actually buy goods. So if an African has an income of $1/day adjusted for PPP, it means his income is enough to buy about what a dollar would buy in the US: i.e., a loaf of bread.
  • CPIA: Country Policy and Institutional Assessment. World Bank measure of quality of country’s social and economic policies.
  • Capacity: the ability of a state or other body to fulfil its goals. For example, a state’s capacity to run an economy well could be impaired by a lack of skilled economists.
  • Accountability: the systems a state or other body has in place to ensure its aims and policies are reflective of their stakeholders. E.g., democracy.
  • Public goods: goods that you cannot buy and sell, because you can’t limit their use, like clean air, or unencoded TV signals.
  • Club goods: goods that you can buy and sell to individuals, but which are unlimited, so that one person’s use does not diminish the resource for others. For example, cable TV.
  • Common property goods: goods which are limited, so that one person’s use could reduce the ability of others to use; yet which aren’t actually limited in use. For example, fish, in an area where fishing is allowed.
  • NOTE: Which type of good something is is a combination of its nature and the policies and business models attached to it. So for example, bottling and selling spring water turns it from a public good to a club good.

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