The Global Poverty Research Lab hosts several events each year. Our signature events include:

Development Rookiefest

Rookiefest features promising doctoral students in development economics presenting their job talk paper to an audience of faculty and scholars from the Chicagoland and greater Midwest area.  This event is invite only. Visit the event site for more information. 

Methods & Measurement Meeting

This is an annual meeting for researchers interested in methodological and measurement work related to Innovation for Poverty Action’s Research Methods Initiative’s Themes. Visit the event site for more information.

Researcher Gathering on Financial Inclusion and Social Protection

Co-hosted by the Global Poverty Research Lab (GPRL) and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), this gathering provides a forum to present and discuss early-stage results and recent working papers on financial inclusion and social protection research from the United States and abroad, including new work on household finance, consumer protection, savings and payments, women’s financial inclusion, social safety nets, cash transfers, labor market programs, youth employment, livelihood development, and targeting.  Registration is required. Email financialinclusion@poverty-action.org for more information.

Upcoming Events

October 28 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker: Joris Mueller

Title: TBA

November 11 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Ritwika Sen (30') / Hossein Alidaee (30')

Title: TBA


November 18 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar 

Speaker: Joris Mueller

Title: TBA


December 2 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Joris Mueller

Title: TBA


May 15-16 2021

Location: TBD

Development Rookiefest 2020 and 2021

The Global Poverty Research Lab hosts an annual Development Rookiefest featuring the year’s most promising doctoral students in development economics presenting their job talk paper to an audience of faculty and scholars from the Chicagoland and greater Midwest area.

Rookiefest 2020 was postponed due to COVID-19. We will have the 2020 presenters present on Saturday, May 15th and the 2021 presenters present on Sunday, May 16th. 

Questions about this event should be directed to Susan Dennehy, Susan.Dennehy@northwestern.edu.

 

 

Date: TBD

Location: TBD
C-Lecture

Speaker: David Dollar (John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution)

Title: US-China Trade and Technology Competition

Date: TBD


The China Lab invites leading researchers to speak about their research to a broad audience of economists. The goal is to increase knowledge about the Chinese economy and about doing research on the Chinese economy to faculty and graduate students. Each lecture focuses on one topic and in addition to the usual academic presentation, the speaker is asked to address the following questions:

1) What should policy makers in China do differently?

2) What did policy makers in China do right?

3) Are there lessons for policy makers in other countries?

4) What are obvious questions for which more empirical research is needed?

5) What obstacles did the researchers face in doing research on China and suggestions for students on how to overcome them.

6) Where/how did the researchers obtain data and institutional knowledge? 

Further details to follow shortly

Past Events

October 21 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Eduardo Campillo Betancourt

Title: "Citizenship Policy and the Spread of Communicable Diseases: Evidence from the Dominican Republic" joint with F. Alba-Vivar and J. Flor-Toro

Abstract: 

We study two controversial policies in the Dominican Republic in 2013 and 2015 that targeted as much as 10% of the country's population based on their foreign ancestry and limited their safe access to services such as health. Beyond the direct negative effects such policies may have on the targeted group, we argue that there may be important indirect effects from such policies through the contagion of communicable diseases. We exploit the timing and differential exposure to these policies across the country, as well as highly disaggregated epidemiological data on diseases to provide evidence of these indirect effects. Our estimates provide evidence of a notable increase in the caseload of Dengue, a highly contagious disease. Contrarily, there are no effects either for communicable diseases that are less contagious, or for non-communicable diseases. We argue that these results are due to a restriction in access to health services.


October 14 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker: José Flor-Toro

Title: "Getting health professionals to underserved areas in developing countries: wages, career-incentives, and selection" joint with M. Magnaricotte

Abstract: Human resources in health are unequally distributed within many developing countries, a factor which contributes to unequal access to health. Since job positions in poor and remote areas are often unattractive to health professionals, governments rely on different incentives to draw professionals to underserved areas. Are these incentives efficient in attracting health professionals and are they ultimately effective in improving health outcomes? We study Peru’s civil service requirement in remote areas for recently graduated health professionals, and two major reforms on the schedule of wages and career incentives for this particular system. We exploit discontinuities in the incentives schedules introduced by the reforms to document two facts. First, while both incentives seem to be effective in attracting health professionals scoring higher in major-specific tests, physicians respond strongly to career incentives and nurses to pay increases. Second, despite observably 'better' health professionals, health outcomes did not improve and in some cases worsened. We argue that this may result from the pattern of selection created by reforms in a system with limited job positions, different incentives, and different types of health professionals beyond what is measured in test scores. We then discuss a framework to quantify these selection patterns by exploiting administrative data and the system's centralized allocation.

 


October 12 2020

4:30-5:30pm

Online

GPRL Coffee Chat with Prof. Nancy Qian


The Global Poverty Research Lab and the Undergraduate Economics Society (UES) have partnered up to bring you a Coffee Chat with Prof. Nancy Qian.  She will describe how she got her start in development economics, and also present her recent work, “The Rise and Fall of Local Elections in China.”  The last 30 minutes are reserved for questions from the audience about any subject, as well as resources for how students can get involved in research.

Speaker Bio: Nancy Qian is the James J. O'Connor Professor at Kellogg MEDS and the founding director of China Lab, a part of Northwestern's Global Poverty Research Lab. Her research provides empirical evidence for a set of core questions in development economics from four sub-categories: demography and development, geography and development, institutions and development and culture and development.

Mission: The mission of GPRL Coffee Chats is to connect students to faculty (and other professionals) in an informal setting so they can learn more about a career in international development.

 


October 7 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar 

Speaker: Jimmy Lee

Title: Conventional Roles, Beliefs, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Agricultural Innovations: Preliminary Evidence, Theory, and a Field Experiment in Liberia 

Abstract:
As the youth population and school enrollment continue to rise in sub-Saharan Africa, school programs that provide practical life skills are increasingly common. Such programs can cost-effectively diffuse new knowledge into households. However, students conventionally assist their elders in many household decisions. A reversal of roles is required for students to teach their elders new practices. Unaware of skills that students have learnt in schools, elders are skeptical that students have valuable knowledge. Students, knowing that elders are skeptical, might be reluctant to engage in discussions of what they have learnt. This paper studies these informational barriers to intergenerational transmission of innovations in the context of a school-based agricultural education program in Liberia. I construct a novel game that highlights inefficiencies in communication when (i) an information friction hindering one player’s update on the state of nature is commonly known to both parties; (ii) costs of communication and/or sanctions for violating prevailing norms necessitate coordination between players; and (iii) players form beliefs with reference to conventional roles. I design a field experiment to separately identify biases in the reduced-form beliefs of students and their elders, to test policy-relevant informational treatments, and to measure their effects on the flow of agricultural innovations and production patterns within households.

September 30 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar 

Speaker: Sean Higgins

Title: Increasing Financial Inclusion and Attracting Deposits through Prize-Linked Savings

Abstract:

Despite the benefits of saving in formal financial institutions, take-up and use of savings accounts are low among the poor. In a randomized experiment across 110 bank branches throughout Mexico, we provide a temporary incentive to both open and use a savings account: saving earns raffle tickets for cash prizes. We find that 41% more accounts are opened in treatment branches than control branches during the incentive months, and the temporary two-month incentive has a lasting three-year impact on the number of deposits made at treatment branches. Prize-linked savings can thus benefit both poor households and banks.


September 23 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker: Chao Liu

Title:
"Early-Life Health and Lifetime Outcomes: Evidence from the Large-Scale Schistosomiasis Eradication in China" (joint work with G.G. Liu)

Abstract:

Schistosomiasis is one of the most prevalent parasitic diseases in the world. This paper studies a large-scale deworming program targeted to schistosomiasis in China, to identify the long-term impacts of early-life health on adult outcomes. Using multiple identification strategies, we find that the disease control campaign led to increased educational attainment and adult economic status. The education effect for women was greater than that for men, but the income effect was reversed. Moreover, people in counties with a low initial education level mainly improved in basic education. The results also suggest that the education effect was larger when the intervention happened in utero and for people from a low socioeconomic background. Furthermore, we document the positive impact on employment for people in their fifties, job prestigiousness, adult health, and cognitive abilities. We also find a positive effect on the education level of the treated cohorts’ children.


September 16 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar
 
Speaker: Nancy Qian

Title: The Soviet Great Famine, 1932–33 (joint with A. Markevich and N. Naumenko)

Abstract:

This paper investigates the causes of the Soviet Great Famine, 1932–33, and documents several new empirical facts. First, excess mortality was much higher in regions with a higher share of ethnic Ukrainians, even outside of the Soviet Republic of Ukraine. Second, this cannot be explained by differences in natural conditions, grain productivity, demographic structure or urbanization. Third, in regions with a higher share of ethnic Ukrainians, Soviet economic policies were implemented more zealously, which resulted in higher food procurement and famine mortality. Fourth, there is suggestive evidence that mortality was exacerbated by the presence of non-ethnic Ukrainian Communist Party bureaucrats. These and other results in the paper provide novel evidence for the presence of ethnic bias in famine-era Soviet policies and the contribution of ethnic bias to famine mortality.


 

May 27 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online
Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker: Utsav Manjeer

Title: Let the (P)rice Flow: The Local Economic Effects of India's Agricultural Export Ban

Abstract: Restrictive and uncertain trade regimes are prevalent in developing countries. While trade restrictions are often intended to shield the economy from volatility in global markets, such distortions can have unintended consequences for economic agents across the supply chain in domestic markets. I investigate the local economic effects of India’s wheat and rice export ban during 2007-2011. Using data from almost 2 million transactions, I first show that farmers received lower prices particularly in, but not limited to, areas that the ban is more likely to affect. I then show that there is limited evidence of transmission of the low prices to consumers. Using a novel approach with trade routes, I argue that the export ban worsens domestic market integration. One driving force I find is that farmers restrict supply. I also discuss next steps and other potential mechanisms at play, including the uncertainty surrounding agriculture policy and grain procurement policies of the government.



 

 


May 20 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online
Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker: Matteo Magnaricotte

Title: College Entry and Local Market Outcomes in Perú, joint with José Flor-Toro.

Abstract: We study the effects of entry of universities on local outcomes in the context of Peru. Especially in developing countries, the opening of a university is seen as a harbinger of economic prosperity. However, proper identification of such effects poses notable challenges, and reliable empirical evidence remains scant. Thanks to favorable institutional characteristics of the political and higher education context in Peru, we propose an identification strategy new to the literature addressing the research question, and present preliminary results.

 

 


May 13 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online
Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker: Silvia Vannutelli (Boston University)

Title: "Monitoring and Local Governance: Evidence from Italy” 

Abstract: Monitoring by external auditors is a ubiquitous practice in complex organizations. Frequently, the audited entity appoints the external auditor. While locally-appointed auditors might have better local knowledge, leaving discretion in the hands of the audited party might impair monitoring quality. In this paper, I exploit a unique setting which allows me to evaluate this trade-off in the context of auditing of municipal budgets of local governments. In 2011, Italy introduced a reform that removed the discretion of the appointment of municipal auditors from mayors and introduced a random-assignment system. The objective of the reform was to strengthen monitoring and ensure fiscal sustainability of municipal budgets. I study the consequences of increased monitoring on public finance outcomes of local governments. My identification exploits the staggered introduction of the reform across municipalities in an event-study setting. I obtain three main findings. First, the reform greatly increased compliance with fiscal rules: treated municipalities increase their surpluses by 20% and their debt repayments by 2%. Second, improvements largely come from municipalities in which the mayor had control of the appointment of the previous auditor and from those local governments that were running deficits before the reform. Third, the improvement in compliance with fiscal rules comes at a cost: treated municipalities significantly cut investment expenditures by over 7% and increase local taxes by 8%.  



 

 


May 6 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online
Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker: Joris Mueller

Title: China’s Development Assistance and the Role of its Firms

Abstract: Many countries provide foreign aid to facilitate economic stability and development in poor countries. I posit that donors may also use development assistance to other countries to stabilize demand within their own economies. I study the context of China, which provides much of its official development assistance (ODA) in the form of physical infrastructure, thereby subsidizing and generating business for Chinese contractors and suppliers. Using a novel firm-level dataset, I find that the Chinese government smoothens demand across state-owned firms in strategic sectors by allocating ODA projects to firms that face relatively lower, exogenous demand from other sources. As a placebo check, I show that unsubsidized official loans to the same set of countries and firms do not follow this pattern. I also address potential confounders at the home prefecture-, sector-, and recipient country-level and provide robustness to several other checks.

April 29 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online
Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker: Ricardo Dahis

Title: Development via Autonomy and Funds: Evidence from Brazil

Abstract: Countries may promote regional development by allowing localities to self-select into emancipation and by providing intergovernmental grants to those who split. In large countries, where multiple districts exist within administrative units, the net benefits of splitting into a new unit may be largest for those that are physically isolated, rural, and poor. This paper tests this idea in the context of Brazil, where a window of opportunity between 1988-96 generated an increase of 24% in the number of municipalities. We first show that districts requesting to split are on average smaller, more rural and poorer than the rest of the country. Second, using as control group the districts that request to split but have their case denied, we show that splitting causes increases in agglomeration and night luminosity for new municipalities, but no effects on remaining districts. At the municipality level, splits cause (1) a spike in local capital investment, (2) steady growth in the bureaucracy size, (3) improvements in education and public services provision. Finally, we also estimate and discuss returns to fiscal investment via an IV exercise.

 

 


April 22 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online
Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker: Alison Andrew (Institute for Fiscal Studies, UCL) joint with Abi Adams-Prassl (University of Oxford)

Title: Preferences and Beliefs in the Marriage Market for Young Brides

Rajasthani women typically leave school early and marry young. We develop a novel discrete choice methodology using hypothetical vignettes to elicit average parental preferences over a daughter's education and age of marriage, and subjective beliefs about the evolution of her marriage market prospects. We find parents have a strong preference for delaying a daughter's marriage until eighteen but no further. Conditional on a marriage match, parents place little intrinsic value on a daughter's education. However, they believe the probability of receiving a good marriage offer increases strongly with a daughter's education but deteriorates quickly with her age on leaving school.  

 



 

 


April 8 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online
Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker: Hossein Alidaee

Title: Is Context a Mechanism Behind Social Learning? A Proposal for a Lab Experiment

 
Abstract: Information about the efficacy of a new technology is a major barrier to agricultural technology adoption, and therefore to economic development. Social learning has been widely documented as an effective channel to communicate information to farmers and encourage adoption. This efficacy can be surprising, as peer farmers often have much less experience with a technology than other sources of information, such as extension agents. Despite this rich literature, we have little understanding of the mechanisms behind why social learning is effective. This project proposes one potential mechanism: a signal about a technology’s efficacy is weighed more strongly when a receiver understands the signal’s context, such as the sender’s production function, from which the measure of efficacy is derived. I also propose a lab experiment to test this mechanism.




 

 


March 4 2020

1:00-2:00pm
Location: KGH 1410
Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker: Miguel Talamas

Title: David vs Goliath: Mexican Corner Stores Facing Convenience Chains

Abstract: Corner stores are a prevalent type of the more than 200 million microenterprises in developing countries. This paper analyses how corner stores face competition from potentially more efficient entrants: the convenience store chains that have rapidly expanded in the last two decades. The setting is Mexico, where there are more than 500 thousand corner stores and the number of large-chain convenience stores has grown from less than 2,000 in 1999 to more than 15,000 in 2014.


 

 


February 20 2020

5:00-6:00pm
Kresge Hall 2343
Panel Discussion with GPRL Research Analysts

Thursday, February 20, 2020
5:00 - 6:00 PM
Kresge Hall 2343
1880 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL   


The Global Poverty Research Lab Speaker Series and the Undergraduate Economics Society (UES) have partnered up to bring you a panel discussion with three of GPRL’s research analysts.  They will talk about their undergraduate experiences, their career trajectories, and how to get involved in development economics.  In the last 30 minutes, they will take questions from the audience.
 
Bubble tea will be provided.       


January 16 2020

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
KGH 3420 (3rd floor)

GPRL Speaker Series: Prof. Lori Beaman

The Global Poverty Research Lab Speaker Series and the Department of Economics Feed Your Mind Lunch Series have partnered up to bring you a presentation by Professor Lori Beaman (Economics).

She will present on her latest research for 30 minutes and then open the floor to a discussion related to economics, research, or any related topic of students' choice.

*Please note space is limited to the first 10 students.

 

Speaker Bio: 

Lori Beaman, Associate Professor of Economics and Global Poverty Research Lab Affiliate.  She is a development economist whose research interests are centered on three themes: the role of social networks in the labor market, agricultural technology adoption and women's mobility.

About the Series:

The GPRL Speaker Series is an opportunity for undergraduate students to learn about GPRL affiliated faculty’s ongoing research, as well as how their academic and professional experiences got them to this point.  After 30 minutes presenting, the speaker will open up the floor to a Q&A discussion of what students can do to get involved with research opportunities on campus and prepare for careers in development economics.

 

November 21 2019

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM, Scott Hall (601 University Place) basement level, Room 34, Evanston
GPRL Speaker Series: Prof. Andrew Dillon

Prof. Dillon will talk about how his experiences led him to research in developing countries, as well as discuss his recent project, “Making Markets:  Experiments from Rural Mali.”

November 20 2019

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM, Evanston
Book Conference for "Good Economics for Hard Times" by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo

Book conference for Good Economics for Hard Times, by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo (Authors of Poor Economics: A Ra...

October 30 2019

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM, Evanston
C-Lab Lecture: What is a Tax Audit in China?

Speaker: Wei Cui, University of British Columbia Wei Cui is a professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, University...

May 16 2019

All day, Evanston

C Lab Workshop

The workshop will start at 10 AM on Tuesday, May 14 and end at 3 PM on Thursday, May 16. There will be two presentations...

May 15 2019

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM, Evanston
C Lab Lecture - Daniel Xu

Please join us for our China Lab Lecture. Daniel Xu (Duke University) will present: "Tax Incentives and Firm Investment ...

May 15 2019

All day, Evanston
C Lab Workshop

The workshop will start at 10 AM on Tuesday, May 14 and end at 3 PM on Thursday, May 16. There will be two presentations...

May 14 2019

All day, Evanston
C Lab Workshop

The workshop will start at 10 AM on Tuesday, May 14 and end at 3 PM on Thursday, May 16. There will be two presentations...

May 11 2019

All day, Evanston
Development Rookiefest

The Global Poverty Research Lab hosts the second annual Development Rookiefest. This is an invite-only event. A select g...

May 10 2019

All day, No Location
Pre-Analysis Plan Mini-Conference

This event aims to provide a platform where scholars can present and receive feedback on their research design prior to ...

April 27 2019

All day, No Location
4th Annual Researcher Gathering on Financial Inclusion and Social Protection

The Global Poverty Research Lab and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) are hosting the 4th Annual Researcher Gathering...

April 26 2019

All day, No Location
4th Annual Researcher Gathering on Financial Inclusion and Social Protection

The Global Poverty Research Lab and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) are hosting the 4th Annual Researcher Gathering...

March 8 2019

All day, No Location
Research Methods and Measurement Meeting

Research on measurement and methods is important to the internal validity of empirical research. In 2015, Yale and IPA o...

January 28 2019

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM, Evanston
IPR Colloquium: S. Jayachandran (IPR/Economics) - Son Preference and Fertility in India

"Son Preference and Fertility in India" by Seema Jayachandran, Professor of Economics and IPR Fellow   This is part of t...

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