Andrew B. Bernard, Valerie Smeets, Frederic Warzynski, 22 June 2016

Deindustrialisation is a major policy concern in high-income countries not only because of resulting unemployment, but also because of the long-run implications for growth. This column uses evidence from Denmark to analyse whether it is being measured in the right way. A substantial fraction of the decline in manufacturing actually reflects the changing nature of production. Service sector firms that still perform many of the value-adding activities of traditional manufacturing firms should not be overlooked by policymakers.

Marianne Bertrand, Patricia Cortes, Claudia Olivetti, Jessica Pan, 21 June 2016

Marriage rates of skilled and unskilled women have evolved quite differently across countries since 1995. The rate is lower overall for skilled women but the gap is narrowing, and even reversing, in some countries. This column uses evidence from 23 countries between 1995 and 2010 to consider how skilled women’s labour market opportunities impact their marriage prospects in different societies. Generally, more conservative societies have lower marriage rates for skilled women relative to unskilled women, with the effects of an increase in skilled women’s wages depending on the degree of conservatism.

Paul Stevens, 08 June 2016

In 2014, after more than a decade of a booming oil market, oil prices collapsed. In this video, Paul Stevens discusses the effects of the super cycle for oil-exporting countries. The higher oil prices destroyed demand, leading to over-supply and a fall in prices. As a consequence, oil-exporting countries had difficulties in meeting budget expenditures and needed to diversify their economies. This video was shot during the International Growth Centre’s annual conference held in London in June 2016.

Alexander Bick, Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln, David Lagakos , 04 June 2016

The development accounting literature tries to account for cross-country output per worker differences by taking stock of inputs per worker. The data employed are often measured without great precision, however, making comparisons difficult. This column presents a new, internationally comparable dataset of average hours worked per adult across the world income distribution. Adults in poor countries are found to work a lot more and with lower productivity than those in rich countries. The findings suggest that those from poorer countries are not only ‘consumption poor’, but also ‘leisure poor’. 

Marcela Eslava, Xavier Freixas, 31 May 2016

Public development banks play a significant role in the allocation of credit to businesses that may be unable to attain credit under normal circumstances, despite generating positive externalities. But there is concern that lending by these institutions may end up being allocated inefficiently. This column considers the costly screening that banks must do to allocate funds. It finds that the inefficient allocation of credit may arise when banks are unable to fully internalise the benefits of possible projects. Direct lending and the implementation of subsidies for intermediated lending are two possible ways to counter expensive screening.

Gilles Duranton, Ejaz Ghani, Arti Grover Goswami, William Kerr, 27 May 2016

Optimising the allocation of factors of production improves productivity. In India, where evidence suggests land is severely misallocated to inefficient manufacturing firms, access to financing is disproportionately tied to access to land. This column examines the link between the misallocation of land and access to capital through financial markets. A very strong positive correlation emerges between the two, consistent with the fact that land and buildings can provide strong collateral support for accessing finance from the credit market.


Topics will include improving quality of Early Childhood care in the home and child-care centres; scaling-up ECD programs; process of skill formation over the course of childhood; long-run effects of early childhood investments.

Confirmed speakers:
J. Lawrence Aber (NYU)
Mariana Alfonso, (IDB)
Maria Caridad Araujo (IDB)
Orazio Attanasio (UCL and IFS)
Jere R. Behrman (Pennsylvania)
Raquel Bernal (Universidad de los Andes)
Prashant Bharadwaj (UC San Diego)
Pedro Carneiro (UCL and cemmap)
Gabriella Conti (UCL and IFS)
Yyannú Cruz-Aguayo (IDB)
Flávio Cunha (Rice)
Janet Currie (Princeton)
Professor Sir Ian Diamond (Aberdeen)
Sally Grantham-McGregor (UCL)
Sonya Krutikova (EDePo at IFS)
Karen Macours (Paris School of Economics)
Costas Meghir (Yale and IFS)
Scott Rozelle (Stanford)
Marta Rubio-Codina (IDB and International Research fellow, IFS)
Norbert Schady (IDB)
Essi Viding (UCL)
Hirokazu Yoshikawa (Steinhardt NYU)
This event is free to attend.

Shyamal Chowdhury, Annabelle Krause, Klaus F. Zimmermann, 28 April 2016

Across the world, 650 million people still lack access to clean water, despite great progress over last two decades. This column looks at the case of Bangladesh, where around 45 million people are at risk from drinking water that is contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic. Drinking this water can lead to symptoms of arsenicosis, which have a significant negative impact on mental health and thus on household productivity and wellbeing.

Jeremiah Dittmar, Ralf R Meisenzahl, 26 April 2016

Throughout history, most states have functioned as kleptocracies and not as providers of public goods. This column analyses the diffusion of legal institutions that established Europe’s first large-scale experiments in mass public education. These institutions originated in Germany during the Protestant Reformation due to popular political mobilisation, but only in around half of Protestant cities. Cities that formalised these institutions grew faster over the next 200 years, both by attracting and by producing more highly skilled residents.


The Poverty Reduction, Equity and Growth Network (PEGNet) Conference 2016 on Regional integration for Africa’s economic transformation – Challenges and opportunities will be held in Kigali, Rwanda in cooperation with the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research, IPAR-Rwanda on September 15-16, 2016.

The Conference will provide a platform for high-level dialogue between development researchers, practitioners and policy-makers working on Poverty Reduction, Inequality, Growth and other related topics in Development Economics. The two conference days will feature parallel-sessions based on invited and contributed papers and project presentations. These will be complemented by a debate, a round-table discussion, and keynote speeches by renowned speakers from academia, economic policy and development practice.

Robert Barro, 04 February 2016

China’s diminished growth prospects are in the news and seem to spell bad news for just about everybody. This column assesses the evidence, arguing that China’s economic growth will be much slower from now on, reducing international trade. Perhaps the biggest challenge for China will be future political tensions in reconciling economic dreams with economic realities.

Longfeng Ye, Peter E. Robertson, 01 February 2016

The World Bank has identified 37 countries as being in a ‘middle-income trap’, but few formal tests of the middle-income trap hypothesis exist. This column presents a new test based on a more nuanced observation that incorporates information on a country’s long-run growth path. Only seven out of 46 middle-income countries are found to be potentially ‘trapped’. Some countries that are usually considered to be trapped may just be growing very slowly.

Adriana Kocornik-Mina, Thomas McDermott, Guy Michaels, Ferdinand Rauch, 21 January 2016

During the past couple of months alone, floods have displaced 100,000 people or more in Kenya, in Paraguay and Uruguay, and in India, as well as more than 50,000 people in the UK. And rising sea levels due to climate change loom. This column assesses the risk and the challenges for policymakers. It details the effects of flooding in cities around the world, showing that economic activity is concentrated in low-elevation urban areas, despite their much greater exposure to flooding. And worryingly, economic activity tends to return to flood-prone low-lying areas rather than relocating.

Joshua Aizenman, Yothin Jinjarak, Jungsuk Kim, Donghyun Park, 08 January 2016

Taxation in developing nations has always been difficult, but the Global Crisis has brought further complications. This column examines and compares the tax revenue trends in Asia and Latin America to shed light on some of these issues. Despite their similarities, there is no one-size-fits-all explanation for tax/GDP ratios between the two regions. While progress has been made, the gap between the advanced economies and developing countries offers ample room for improvement. This is particularly important for developing nations as they face growing demand for fiscal spending.

Sheilagh Ogilvie, 23 December 2015

A vocal set of economists argue that economies can succeed in the absence of strong state and public institutions. This column looks to the ‘Champagne fairs’ of medieval Europe for lessons in how important public institutions can be. Public authorities are crucial – for good or for ill. When rulers provided these as generalised institutional services to everyone, the Champagne fairs flourished. When they granted them to privileged groups only, trade declined and business moved elsewhere.


***Keynote Speakers***
Jean-Phillipe Platteau
(Emeritus Professor, University of Namur and Centre for Research in Economic Development (CRED))
Philip Keefer (Principal Economic Advisor, Inter-American Development Bank)

The annual conference brings together international scholars and researchers of development economics and neighboring fields. Plenary sessions with keynote speakers, and parallel sessions with contributed papers and posters will reflect the current state of research in development economics and provide a forum for exchange for researchers and practitioners.

Local organizers:
Prof. Dr. Axel Dreher (Alfred-Weber-Institute for Economics, Heidelberg University)
Prof. Dr. Stefan Klonner (South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University)


The report takes an in-depth look at the types of finance the transition region requires to move towards sustainable growth. In the post-crisis era, growth in the region has come to a virtual standstill. As a result, there is little convergence with advanced countries and the report concludes that the region requires a variety of funding sources, as well as structural reform, to address the investment gap that currently exists.
The report assesses the balance between debt and equity financing, between foreign currency and local currency finance and between external and domestic funding. In particular, the report assesses in detail the role of private equity as a form of growth capital in the EBRD’s countries of operations. It also looks at whether the balance is right between public, household and corporate debt. Finally, the report considers how the balance between traditional western European foreign direct investment and funding from further-flung regions might be improved.

Siwan Anderson, Debraj Ray, 10 October 2015

The developing world has notoriously low female-to-male sex ratios, a phenomenon that has been described as ‘missing women’. It is argued that this is driven by parental preferences for sons, sex-selective abortion, and different levels of care during infancy. This column shows that these higher rates of female mortality continue into adulthood. It argues that being unmarried, especially through widowhood, can have substantial effects on relative rates of female mortality in the developing world.

James A Robinson, Ragnar Torvik, Thierry Verdier, 27 July 2015

Economists have long understood that policy chosen by politics is unlikely to be socially optimal. This is because politicians face the probability of losing power and may discount the future too much, or act to improve their re-election probability. This column explores these issues taking into account the fact that future government revenue is uncertain. Public income volatility acts to reduce the efficiency of public policy. This has important implications for developing countries that rely on income from volatile sources, such as natural resource extraction.

Alexandra Lopez-Cermeño, 12 July 2015

Economic historians tend to explain US geographical development gaps in terms of industrialisation. But by the end of the 20th century, the richest counties had become specialised in services, rather than in manufacturing. This column evaluates how the service economy triggered this evident contrast between the urban and rural US. Market size causes localisation of non-agricultural activity, with the effect being stronger for services, especially knowledge services. Local policymakers can thus foster growth by attracting high-skilled workers to a region, with the multiplier effect eventually increasing the local market.