Incentives not intervention

Posted on October 10, 2009  /  0 Comments

That is the phrase I brought back from Harvard Forum II that I attended on behalf of LIRNEasia a few weeks back. In 2003 they held Harvard Forum I (which, among the LIRNE.NET group only Alison Gillwald attended). One of the results was the funding of organizations like LIRNEasia that seek to remove policy and regulatory barriers to the use of ICTs.

This time the focus was on “what next.” Implicit was the question whether we need to now focus on applications since the access problem had been solved. In my first intervention I used data from Burma/Myanmar to show that the access problem had not been solved everywhere (interestingly this resonated with Amartya Sen who had spent his youth there). Many more interesting things were said particularly by the other Nobel Laureate in the room, Michael Spence (I have a LBO column coming based on that discussion), but still the phrase that stuck in my mind was that of Laurent Elder: incentives, not intervention.

Here is what Hernan Galperin of DIRSI had commented. He has included all the links to the real-time blogging and commenting that Ethan Zuckerman did.

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