OP-EDS

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May 11, 2010

“A continental oversight” underestimates economist's methods

“A continental oversight” (May 7) offers its own myopic understanding of economic analysis.

“A continental oversight” (May 7) offers its own myopic understanding of economic analysis. The author criticizes Emily Oster’s application of the economic analytic method to the behavior of African men. I find it hard to understand how one could be offended by the treatment of African men as rational beings capable of recognizing the factors impacting their lifespans. Were another economist or anthropologist to offer the explanation that African men failed to change their sexual behavior in light of AIDS because they were irrational, or because they had a longstanding tradition preventing them from practicing safe sex, Mr. Som’s reaction would be understandable. His objection to viewing Africans as forward-looking, rational beings is thoughtless.

Jeffrey Clark

A.B. 2006

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