Salinger Speaks to Students On Developing Economies

She spent her Junior year of college in Germany, studied for her Ph.D. in Cambodia, and now travels around the world as an applied economist, doing field work everywhere from Morocco to Madagascar. B. Lynn Salinger, the vice president and senior economist at the Associates for International Resources and Development (AIRD), lectured this past Wednesday night in Kemper Auditorium. Entitled “Globalization and Where We Each Fit In,” Ms. Salinger’s lecture provided a glimpse of the life and career of a development economist. Her interest in economics developed as a result of a 1973 high school economics class. “[My teacher] explained the Vietnam War to us as a battle for human resources, not as preventing the domino effect, and it all just clicked,” said Ms. Salinger. Ms. Salinger’s experience as an applied economist spans over 20 years. Her job requires an understanding of the theory of supply and demand, but unlike other academic economists, Ms. Salinger also works to aquire primary and secondary data, analyze that information, and make recommendations. Her most recent work, in Morocco and Cambodia, involved agricultural economics and an analysis of the textile industry. “This type of work satisfies my need to contribute to make the world a better place,” said Salinger. In Morocco, Ms. Salinger offered support to the Moroccan government as it prepared to negotiate a free trade agreement with the United States. “Morocco is a country that likes to say that it is the longest standing ally of the United States, and yet so few people know about Morocco,” commented Salinger. Salinger also commented on the pros and cons of the free trade agreement that was signed. “The United States subsidizes the majority of its farmers, and a much higher percentage of Morocco’s population live in rural areas and derive their income from farming,” she said. “Some are scared that the US products will put Moroccan farmers out of business.” Just this week, Ms. Salinger returned from Cambodia, where she has been compiling a competitive analysis of textiles and garments. Cambodia is the only country whose exportation rights to the United States market are contingent on the strict enforcement of labor laws. As a result, over 200,000 jobs have been created in Cambodia in the garment industry, which now supports over 20 percent of the population. Over 80 percent of all exports out of Cambodia are garments. But in January 2005, the quota system, which limits the amount of goods a country can export into the United States, was removed. “Without this system, countries like China, where sneaker companies have already set up shop, might gobble up this entire market,” Ms. Salinger said. Ms. Salinger continued, saying that although the quota system has been eliminated, a large majority of name brand clothing distributors in an anonymous survey said that the most important thing to them was the labor standard compliancy of the company. So by this virtue, Cambodia offers a clean place to do business as a result of its agreement with the United States. Dr. Salinger’s lecture, which addressed agricultural economics, investments and trade, and labor economics, concluded Andover’s economics lecture series. She is a graduate of Tufts University, and she received her graduate degree in international development economics from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Dr. Salinger and Instructor in History and Economics Christopher Shaw both studied under the same professor at Tufts.