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

April 20 2021

9:00-11:50am

Online

Political Economy Student Rookie Workshop 2021

The first annual Political Economy Student Rookie Workshop will take place on Monday, April 19th, and Tuesday, April 20th. A select group of doctoral students in the political economy field will present their job talk paper to an audience of faculty and scholars from the Chicagoland and greater Midwest area via zoom.

Political Economy Student Rookie Workshop 2021 will take place over the course of two days.

For more information please contact Grace Musante, Grace.Musante@Kellogg.Northwestern.edu

This event is invite-only.

 

 

 

April 28 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Ryu Matsuura (30 Mins) and Utsav Manjeer (30 mins)

Title: TBA

Abstract: TBA


April 30 2021

All Day

Online

2021 Midwest International Economic Development Conference

Keynote Speaker: Eliana La Ferrara, Fondazione Romeo ed Enrica Invernizzi Chair in Development Economics at Università Bocconi  


 

May 1 2021

8:00-1:30pm

Online

2021 Midwest International Economic Development Conference

Keynote Speaker: Eliana La Ferrara, Fondazione Romeo ed Enrica Invernizzi Chair in Development Economics at Università Bocconi  


 

May 5 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Eduardo Campillo Betancourt

Title: TBA

Abstract: TBA


May 12 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Siddhant Agarwal

Title: TBA

Abstract: TBA


May 19 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Matteo Magnaricotte

Title: TBA

Abstract: TBA


May 21 2021

All Day

Online

Economic History Rookiefest 2020 and 2021

The Global Poverty Research Lab is hosting Economic History Rookiefest. The year’s most promising doctoral students in Economic History will present their job talk paper to an audience of faculty and scholars from the Chicagoland and greater Midwest area.

Economic History Rookiefest will take place on Friday, 5/21.

Questions about this event should be directed to Grace Musante, Grace.Musante@Kellogg.Northwestern.edu

This event is by invite only.

 

 

May 26 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Kensuke Maeba

Title: TBA

Abstract: TBA


June 2 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Hossein Alidaee

Title: TBA

Abstract: TBA


June 3 2021

8:00-10:00pm

Online

2021 China Star Tour
 
The China Star Tour is a 3 day event where 5-6 of the top U.S. Job Market Candidates are invited to share their job market papers to an audience at Chinese universities. The goal is to promote research on the frontier of economics of the highest quality in the region where there is arguably the largest growth in interest in economics.

This year the event will be held virtually over the course of 3 evenings (Thursday, 6/3 - Saturday, 6/5).

Questions about this event should be directed to Grace Musante, Grace.Musante@Kellogg.Northwestern.edu


This event is by invite only.

 

June 4 2021

8:00-10:00pm

Online

2021 China Star Tour
 
The China Star Tour is a 3 day event where 5-6 of the top U.S. Job Market Candidates are invited to share their job market papers to an audience at Chinese universities. The goal is to promote research on the frontier of economics of the highest quality in the region where there is arguably the largest growth in interest in economics.

This year the event will be held virtually over the course of 3 evenings (Thursday, 6/3 - Saturday, 6/5).

Questions about this event should be directed to Grace Musante, Grace.Musante@Kellogg.Northwestern.edu


This event is by invite only.

 

June 5 2021

8:00-10:00pm

Online

2021 China Star Tour
 
The China Star Tour is a 3 day event where 5-6 of the top U.S. Job Market Candidates are invited to share their job market papers to an audience at Chinese universities. The goal is to promote research on the frontier of economics of the highest quality in the region where there is arguably the largest growth in interest in economics.

This year the event will be held virtually over the course of 3 evenings (Thursday, 6/3 - Saturday, 6/5).

Questions about this event should be directed to Grace Musante, Grace.Musante@Kellogg.Northwestern.edu


This event is by invite only.

 

October 15 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.

Development Rookiefest 2020/2021 will take place over two days in the fall.

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

For more information, please check out our event website.

 

 

October 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.

Development Rookiefest 2020/2021 will take place over two days in the fall.

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

For more information, please check out our event website.

 

 

 October 28 2021

Location: TBA
Research Methods and Measurement Meeting

Research on measurement and methods is important to the internal validity of empirical research. In 2015, Yale and IPA organized a meeting to discuss how to encourage methods and measurement research. This year the Global Poverty Research Lab is convening a follow-up meeting of interested researchers at Northwestern University.

The objectives of the meeting include:

1. Facilitate an informal conversation about measurement and methods by sharing work in progress and working papers.
2. Discuss strategies and develop teams to leverage retrospective and/or prospective measurement or methodological research using IPA or existing survey data
3. Prioritize research themes which teams of researchers or a research methods initiative should focus.

This is an invite-only event.

Questions about this event should be directed to Susan Dennehy, susan.dennehy@Kellogg.Northwestern.edu

October 29 2021

Location: TBA
Annual Researcher Gathering on Financial Inclusion and Social Protection

The Global Poverty Research Lab and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) are hosting the Annual Researcher Gathering on Financial Inclusion and Social Protection.

This gathering provides a forum to present and discuss early results and recent working papers on financial inclusion and social inclusion 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.

This is an invite-only event.

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

October 30 2021

Location: TBA
Annual Researcher Gathering on Financial Inclusion and Social Protection

The Global Poverty Research Lab and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) are hosting the Annual Researcher Gathering on Financial Inclusion and Social Protection.

This gathering provides a forum to present and discuss early results and recent working papers on financial inclusion and social inclusion 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.

This is an invite-only event.

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

April 19 2021

9:00-11:50am

Online

Political Economy Student Rookie Workshop 2021

The first annual Political Economy Student Rookie Workshop will take place on Monday, April 19th, and Tuesday, April 20th. A select group of doctoral students in the political economy field will present their job talk paper to an audience of faculty and scholars from the Chicagoland and greater Midwest area via zoom.

Political Economy Student Rookie Workshop 2021 will take place over the course of two days.

For more information please contact Grace Musante, Grace.Musante@Kellogg.Northwestern.edu

This event is invite-only.

 

April 7 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Ricardo Dahis

Title: The Impact of 3G Mobile Internet on Educational Outcomes in Brazil

Abstract:
Does the availability of mobile broadband internet affect children's test scores? We compare Portuguese and math scores before and after the staggered entry of 3G into Brazil's 5,570 municipalities using an event study design. Despite the evidence that 3G is widely adopted and used by Brazilians, we find that there is no effect of mobile internet on Portuguese or math scores, and can reject effect sizes of 0.02 standard deviations for 5th grade students, and 0.01 standard deviations for 9th grade students. Taken together, our results indicate that simply offering high-speed mobile internet is not sufficient to improve educational outcomes.


March 31 2021

8:00-9:00pm

Online

ChinaEconLab Submission Process Workshop

The ChinaEconLab is hosting a fireside chat about the U.S. publication process with the editors from the Journal of European Economic Association (Paola Giuliano), the Review of Economics and Statistics (Rema Hanna and Daniel Xu), and the Journal of Public Economics (Juan Carlos Serrato). There will be a round table discussion followed by a short Q&A.

Questions about this event should be directed to Grace Musante, Grace.Musante@Kellogg.Northwestern.edu


This event is by invite only.


 

March 31 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Sean Higgins

Title: Price Comparison Tools in Consumer Credit Markets

Abstract:
Consumer credit markets feature large amounts of price dispersion, and the same consumer can be offered substantially different interest rates by different banks. Nevertheless, consumers do not search much across banks: in Chile, only 3% of consumers searched at another bank after receiving a loan offer. One reason consumers may not search is that they have inaccurate expectations about price dispersion or the benefits of search. Using administrative data on the universe of consumer loans from Chile's financial regulator, we built an interactive loan price comparison tool. The tool provides just-in-time, personalized information by showing a consumer the distribution of interest rates that similar consumers received for similar loans in the past six months. We will conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) among Chilean consumers who are searching for a loan to measure the impact of the loan price comparison tool on priors about prices and price dispersion, planned and actual search behavior, and eventual loan terms.


March 17 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Ameet Morjaria

Title: Acquisitions, Management and Efficiency: Evidence from Rwanda's Coffee Industry (joint work with Rocco Macchiavello)

Abstract:
Markets in low-income countries often display long tails of inefficient firms and significant misallocation. This paper studies Rwandan coffee mills, an industry initially characterized by widespread inefficiencies that has recently seen a process of consolidation in which exporters have acquired control of a significant number of mills giving rise to multi-plant groups. We combine administrative data with original surveys of both mills and acquirers to understand the consequences of this consolidation. Difference-in-difference results suggest that, controlling for mill and year fixed effects, a mill acquired by a foreign group, but not by a domestic group, improves both productivity and product quality. The difference in performance is not accompanied by changes in mill technology or differential access to capital. Upon acquisition, both foreign and domestic group change mills' managers. Foreign groups, however, recruit younger, more educated and higher ability managers, pay these managers a higher salary (even conditional on manager and mill characteristics) and grant them more autonomy. These “better” managers explain about half of the better performance associated with foreign ownership. The difference in performance reflects superior implementation, rather than management knowledge: following an acquisition, managers in domestic and foreign groups try to implement the same management changes but managers in domestic groups report significantly higher resistance from both workers and farmers and fail to implement the changes. The results have implications for our understanding of organizational change and for fostering market development in emerging markets.


March 10 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Joris Mueller

Title: China's Outward Foreign Aid and Domestic Strategic Motives

Abstract:

This paper tests whether China uses outward foreign aid to pursue domestic policy goals. First, I show that aid projects are allocated to firms that internalize the government's goal of stabilizing domestic employment in prefectures experiencing labor unrest. I then show that local unrest in China also influences which countries receive foreign aid and when. Finally, I exploit this variation to construct an instrumental variable for foreign aid and find positive short-term effects on recipient country GDP and consumption.

 



March 4 2021

5:00-6:00pm

Online

GPRL Coffee Chat

Speaker:
Seema Jayachandran

Title: “Missing women”: Causes and consequences of gender ratios in developing countries

Co-sponsored by:
The Circle of Women
The Economics Department

To RSVP please email Shloka Shetty shlokashetty2021@u.northwestern.edu

March 3 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Matteo Magnaricotte

Title: Local Specialization and Growth: The Italian Land Reform (joint work with Riccardo Bianchi-Vimercati and Giampaolo Lecce)

Abstract:
This paper analyzes a large-scale redistribution policy and its short- and long-term effects on industrial structure and economic development. We focus on a major land reform implemented by the Italian government in the 1950s. We assemble a novel dataset on the expropriations at the municipal level and on pre- and post-reform socio-economic characteristics. A difference in difference model provides evidence that areas with higher incidence of expropriations reported more employed workers in the agricultural sector (and less in the manufacturing one) in the aftermath of the reform. This result persists over the decades. Finally, we analyze the long-term impact of the reform and, using a matching estimator, we provide evidence of a negative effects on economic growth in the long run: municipalities exposed to the land redistribution are associated with significantly lower income growth in the period 1970-2000. 


February 24 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Jacopo Ponticelli

Title: The Effects of Climate Change on Labor and Capital Reallocation: Evidence from Brazil, (joint work with Paula Bustos and Christoph Albert)

Abstract:
We study the effect of climate change on the reallocation of labor and capital across regions and sectors. First, we estimate the effect of extreme weather events occurred in Brazil in the last two decades on the local economy of the affected areas. Second, we assess the magnitude and direction of labor and capital flows that they generate. Finally, we study their impact on destination regions.

February 19 2021

12pm CST

Online

Feed Your Mind with Chris Udry

The Department of Economics hosts a quarterly "Feed Your Mind" Lunch Series aimed to bring students and professors together outside the classroom. The lunches give students the opportunity to learn about economics research in a small group format. Join Chris Udry on Tuesday, February 19, 2021 at 12:00 PM CT while he discusses his paper "Does Poverty Change Labor Supply? Evidence from Multiple Income Effects and 115,579 Bags."

*Space is limited to 20 students* 

RSVP here


February 17 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Miguel Talamás Marcos

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

Abstract:

This paper studies how one of the most prevalent forms of microenterprises, the corner store, responds to increasing competition of large convenience chains. To address the endogenous entry problem, this paper leverages time and market fixed effects with an instrumental variable based on a cost shifter for convenience chains - regional economies of scale - and suitability for convenience chains measured by street width. Convenience chains lead to a reduction in the number of corner stores. This effect is not driven by an increase in exits of corner stores, but by deterring their entry. The managerial advantages of the corner stores being owner-operated allows them to remain productive and keep their core customers.


February 10 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Kieu-Trang Nguyen

Title: Astrology and Matrimony: The Real Effects of Religious Beliefs about Marriage in Vietnam

Abstract: This paper investigates the real consequences of a system of unscientific, illogical religious beliefs in Vietnam. They prescribe that the matching of husband and wife can be auspicious or inauspicious depending on the pair of their birth years. First, we estimate a structural model of assortative marriage matching market, and show that such beliefs in marriage fortune matter to people’s marriage matching, as much as 15% of how much the age and education profile matters. Second, based on this model, we derive a control function for selection into marriage to estimate the effect of auspicious matches on household outcomes, free of the selection bias. We find that auspicious matches increase household expenditure and income by about 3%, and reduces school dropouts without changing the number and composition of children. The likely mechanism operates on relatives’ transfers in case of a negative shock: auspicious couples receive much more transfer when, say, the family suffers from a health shock. Third, we discuss how such testable, unscientific beliefs can persist when their refutation depends on actions 2-3 steps off the equilibrium path
.


February 3 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Alexey Makarin

Title: Production Networks and War (with Vasily Korovkin) 

Abstract: How do severe shocks, such as war, alter the economy? We study how a country's production network is affected by a devastating but localized conflict. We use novel transaction-level data on Ukrainian railway shipments, complemented by administrative data on firms, to document the effect of war on firms and interfirm trade. First, we document substantial propagation effects-trade declines even between firms outside the conflict areas if one of them had traded with the conflict areas before the war. Our estimates suggest that the magnitude of the second-degree effect of conflict is one-third of the first-degree effect. Second, we study firm-level consequences of a change in production network structure. Firms that, for exogenous reasons, become more central in the production network after the start of the conflict receive a lasting boost to their revenues and a temporary one to their profits. A temporary increase in markups suggests a rise in market power as one of the mechanisms. Finally, in a production networks model, we separate the effects of exogenous firm removal and subsequent endogenous network adjustment on firm revenue distribution. At the median of the distribution, network adjustment compensates for 72% of network destruction.

January 29 2021

11-12pm CST

Online

GPRL Coffee Chat with Madeleen Husselman (Country Director, IPA Ghana)


The Global Poverty Research Lab is proud to bring you a Coffee Chat with Madeleen Husselman, the Country Director of the Ghana office at Innovations for Poverty Action.  She will describe how she got her start in development economics, and also present her recent work, “Reducing Learning Gaps: The Case of Targeted Instruction in Ghana.” 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:  Madeleen Husselman is the Country Director of the IPA Ghana office.  Before joining this role in 2017, she oversaw all IPA activities in northern Ghana for 4 years, and was with the IPA Zambia office as a Project Coordinator for 2.5 years.  Madeleen holds a combined BSc/MSc degree in Tropical Landuse from Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

The Project: The Targeted Instruction methodology was first tested through multiple RCTs and was shown to reduce the learning outcomes gap in India.  From 2010-2013, IPA, in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES), piloted this methodology in Ghana, with promising results.  Hear Madeleen describe the challenges to convincing GES that this program should scale up, and how rigorous evidence convinced the Ministry of Education to take action based on the research.

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.

RSVP here for Zoom link


January 27 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Seema Jayachandran

Title: A five-question women's agency index created using machine learning and qualitative interviews (with M. Biradavolu and J. Cooper).

Abstract:

We develop a new short survey module for measuring women's agency by combining mixed-methods data collection and machine learning. We select the best five survey questions for the module based on how strongly correlated they are with a "gold standard" measure of women's agency. For a sample of 209 women in Haryana, India, we measure agency, first, through a semi-structured in-depth interview and, second, through a large set of close-ended questions.  We use qualitative coding methods to score each woman's agency based on the interview, which we treat as her true agency. To identify the subset of close-ended questions most predictive of the "truth", we apply statistical methods similar to standard machine learning except that we specify how many survey questions are selected. The resulting 5-question index is as strongly correlated with the coded qualitative interview as is an index that uses all of the candidate questions. We also considered a second gold standard measure of agency, a real-stakes choice between money for oneself or one's husband. This lab game, however, does not measure agency cleanly in our setting. Thus, our preferred survey measure of agency is the one validated against qualitative interviews.


January 20 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Erika Deserranno

Title: Meritocratic Promotions and Worker Productivity: An Experiment in the Public Sector (joint work with Gianmarco Leon and Philipp Kastrau)

Abstract:

We study the effect of making the promotion criteria in an organization more performance-based (i.e., more meritocratic), the effect of increasing the prize associated with a promotion (i.e., more pay progression), and the interplay of the two on worker productivity. In collaboration with a large public sector organization in Sierra Leone, we introduce exogenous variation at the team level in the extent to which the promotion decision from a Community Health Worker (lower-tier) position to a Peer Supervisor (upper-tier) position is based on worker performance (rather than on personal connections). We cross-randomize this with variation in the perceived pay progression between these two positions. We find that more meritocracy in the promotion system increases worker productivity, especially for workers who perceive the pay progression to be large and for those who are highly-ranked in terms of performance. Higher pay progression has opposite effects depending on meritocracy. In meritocratic promotion regimes, a steeper pay progression motivates lower-tier workers to “climb the organization’s ladder” and prompts an increase in their effort. In non-meritocratic promotion regimes, a steeper pay progression instead demotivates workers, lowering their productivity. The combination of steep pay progression and low meritocracy that is the norm in many bureaucracies in developing countries and in multiple private sector firms around the world may thus hinder the productivity of lower-tier workers.

January 13 2021

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Ashley Wong

(30 min / Open 30 min)

Title: Business Collaborations and Female Entrepreneurship (joint work with Edward Asiedu, Francesca Truffa, and Monica Lambon-Quayefio)

Abstract:
Can reducing search and contracting frictions increase business collaborations and improve firm performance? In January 2021, we will conduct an RCT in Ghana on a sample of 2000 female entrepreneurs of SMEs. We will investigate the effects of an online matching service combined with access to legal information and advisory services on collaborations, firm innovation and performance. In this presentation, we will present statistics from our baseline survey and discuss next steps for the implementation of the intervention.


December 2 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker:
Kensuke Maeba

Title: Public School Teachers and Political Connection in India

Abstract:
This project studies the effects of former-school-teacher state legislative assembly members on public elementary education in India. Former-teacher politicians serve as one of the main channels through which public school teachers exercise their political power in order to protect their privileges. We show how this translates into school-level education outcomes, by exploiting close elections won/lost by school teacher candidates. In the presentation, we will talk about the reduced form results and provide suggestive evidence on the underlying mechanisms. 

November 18 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar 

Speaker: Joris Mueller

Title: China's Outward Foreign Aid and Domestic Strategic Motives

Abstract:  I examine how domestic strategic motives influence the allocation of the large-scale but poorly understood foreign aid and lending China provides to developing countries. Using a unique contract- and firm-level dataset, I show that more foreign aid projects are allocated during periods of local political and economic unrest to firms in China that are designated of national strategic importance and directly owned by the central government. The allocation of World Bank projects to Chinese firms does not follow this pattern. Political connections between contractors and government officials do not account for the observed relationship between unrest and project allocation specific to firms close to the state. I conclude by demonstrating that this domestic strategic motive influencing the allocation of contracts to firms in China may affect which recipient countries get foreign aid and lending, how much, and when.

 


November 12 2020

12-1pm

Online

GPRL Coffee Chat with Prof. Jacopo Ponticelli


The Global Poverty Research Lab is proud to bring you a Coffee Chat with Prof. Jacopo Ponticelli.  He will describe how he got his start in development economics, and also present his recent work, “Household Credit as Stimulus? Evidence from Brazil.”  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: Jacopo Ponticelli is an Associate Professor of Finance at the Kellogg School of Management.  He is an applied economist who primarily studies corporate finance and development economics. His research interests include law and finance, financial development, and economic growth.

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.

RSVP here for Zoom link


November 11 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

First Presenter:
Ritwika Sen

Title: Covid19 and the Value of Relationships in Informal Economies (with Vittorio Bassi, Tommaso Porzio and Esau Tugume)

Abstract: This project focuses on the value of employment relationships in informal economies, where there are usually no written labor or trade contracts. By studying the resilience of these relationships to the Covid19 lockdown, we seek to understand whether these relationships are valuable, and to clarify the sources of their value. We argue that in periods of normalcy inefficient firm-worker matches may persist in the presence of labor market frictions. However, these relationships will be disrupted if they hold little value and there is a cost to re-match (e.g. workers traveling back to the city) as managers will hire different workers once firms reopen after the lockdown. If instead relationships are valuable, these will restart despite any costs to re-match even in the absence of formal contracts. Our starting point is a representative survey of about 1,000 managers and their employees that we conducted in 2018-19. We are now re-surveying this sample through a phone survey to understand which relationships have been disrupted and why. To further examine the sources of relationship value we introduce a nudging experiment and plan to interpret our findings using an adaptation of the canonical Diamond-Mortensen-Pissarides (DMP) model of search and matching.

Second Presenter: Hossein Alidaee

Title: “Recovering Network Structure from Aggregated Relational Data using Penalized Regression”, joint w. E. Auerbach and M. Leung

Abstract: Social network data can be expensive to collect. Breza (2020) propose aggregated relational data (ARD) as a low-cost substitute that can be used to recover the structure of a latent social network when it is generated by a specific parametric random effects model. Our main observation is that many economic network formation models produce networks that are effectively low-rank. As a consequence, network recovery from ARD is generally possible without parametric assumptions using a nuclear-norm penalized regression. We demonstrate how to implement this method and provide finite-sample bounds on the mean squared error of the resulting estimator for the distribution of network links. Computation takes seconds for samples with hundreds of observations. Easy-to-use code in R and Python can be found at https://github.com/mpleung/ARD.


October 28 2020

1:00-2:00pm

Online

Development Economics Lunch Seminar

Speaker: Matteo Magnaricotte

Title: College Entry, Educational Spillovers, and Market Structure in Perú (joint with J. Flor-Toro)

Abstract:

As they complete the compulsory component of their schooling, students have to weigh the benefits from further education against its cost. The availability of college education can decrease the probability of dropout by increasing the ex-ante returns to a high school diploma. Analyzing the fast-growing higher education market of Peru, we provide preliminary evidence regarding the spillovers of colleges on secondary schooling, identifying an increase in high school graduation rates of similar size to the increase in students attending university. We observe that this spillover effect is present for public colleges but not for private ones. We further discuss how the sequentiality of educational choices and spillover effects of public colleges can affect market structure and private entry.


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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