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Of peacocks, development theory and empirics: ABCDE 2014

Merrell Tuck-Primdahl's picture

Development economics may be having a bit of a coming out moment, like a peacock unfurling a sheen of multicolored feathers after a long time wandering around a dusty yard with its tail feathers modestly folded.

This was my impression at the 25th  Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics at the World Bank earlier this week. ‘The Role of Theory in Development Economics’ was the theme, but the proverbial church was broad.

Development Economics and Method: A Quarter Century of ABCDE

Kaushik Basu's picture

[Opening Remarks at the ABCDE 2014, Washington, D.C.]

Introduction

It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to the Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) 2014.

The first time I attended an ABCDE was when Stanley Fischer used to do my job. A letter arrived, quite unexpectedly, in my Delhi mailbox inviting me to attend the ABCDE in Washington. The World Bank would cover all my expenses and, not just that, I was not given any specific task, like that of writing a paper or commenting on one. Several members of the eminences grises of the profession were at the conference and I remember feeling rather tongue tied. So, taking advantage of the fact that I did not have a specific brief, I hardly spoke during the two days. I later figured that if you measured the World Bank’s expenditure on different participants in terms of the amount spent for each word uttered, I was the most highly-paid person at that conference.

I made up for that a little in 1992, when Larry Summers was the Chief Economist, and I was invited once again from Delhi, this time to comment on Paul Romer’s paper (Romer, 1993). And I will make up for this today, since the Bank did not have to spend on my travel and I do intend to say a few things.

Ask Your Questions As We Live Blog From the ABCDE Next Monday and Tuesday

Claudia Sepúlveda's picture

We will be live blogging and Tweeting during the keynote presentations on both days of the World Bank's Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) this coming Monday and Tuesday (May 7-8). 

Hernando de Soto of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy (Peru) will be speaking on Monday @ 9am (EST) on 'Live, Dead, and Fictitious Capital' and Timothy Besley of the London School of Economics (UK) will be speaking on Tuseday @ 9am (EST) on 'Transparency and Accountability: Interpreting the Evidence.'

We're keen on your receiving your questions, so be sure to send them our way through the World Bank Live platform.

Please also visit the ABCDE 2012 Website for the full agenda, working papers, and other materials. Also, follow us on Twitter @ABCDEwb and use #wblive or #ABCDE to join the live discussion.

Look forward to seeing you online!

How migration affects youth - a view from the Philippines

It was a fine day when I left for Japan last year to attend a graduate student’s conference. As I was about to enter the airport gate, a heartbreaking scene made me stop --- a young girl, around seven years old, holding her mother so tightly and not letting her go.

Development economics thinks big but also gets practical—postcard from Paris

Justin Yifu Lin's picture

ABCDE 2011, Paris. Photo: OECD
Development is about big systemic changes, complex tradeoffs, political choices and how the fruits of growth are channeled for the greater good. It is also about broadening opportunities – a goal that if neglected can result in frustrated citizens and tumult as we have seen in the North Africa and Middle East.

These were some of the many messages I took away from the ABCDE conference just held in Paris.

Can the weight of newborns allow us to predict a country's future?

Liviane Urquiza's picture

As part of the Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics in Paris, I was fortunate to attend a presentation by Professor Janet Currie, from Columbia University, on the effects of early life health on adult health, education and earnings. Professor Currie said the size and weight of newborns were indicators of a country’s development, just like average wages or the proportion of children enrolled in school.

Development economics thinks big but also gets practical—postcard from Paris

Justin Yifu Lin's picture

ABCDE 2011, Paris. Photo: OECD
Development is about big systemic changes, complex tradeoffs, political choices and how the fruits of growth are channeled for the greater good. It is also about broadening opportunities – a goal that if neglected can result in frustrated citizens and tumult as we have seen in the North Africa and Middle East.

These were some of the many messages I took away from the ABCDE conference just held in Paris.

Evaluating cash transfers –Latin American and African Experiences

The parallel session on “Evaluating cash transfers – Latin American and African Experiences” at the ABCDDE 2011 centred on the evaluation of social protection programs that distribute cash to the poor, a topic that has been widely discussed by members of the Poverty Reduction, Equity and Growth Network (PEGNet) which organised the session. In accordance with PEGNet’s focus on fostering the exchange between academics and practitioners, the session brought together experts from both spheres. All the speakers were PEGNet members and one was a winner of the PEGNet Best Practice Award for effective cooperation between research and practice.

Experiences from cash transfer programs in Uruguay and Ghana were presented by Andrea Vigorito (Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay) and Robert Osei (ISSER, University of Ghana). In the third presentation the research perspective was confronted with views from development practice by Eva Terberger (KfW Development Bank). Her presentation and the following discussion clearly showed how, in particular in the field impact evaluation, researchers in development economics and policy makers can learn from each other and how large the potential for cooperation is.

Why Social Norms Matter for Policy-Making on Gender

Josefina Posadas's picture

(Parallel Session 16 at the ABCDE, Paris)

Gender equality has not been achieved yet, and progress comes at a different pace across countries and across different dimensions of gender equality. In some domains, as childcare, access to some occupations and sectors, and dimensions of agency, change has been limited or negligible. Even in the domains where improvements have been widespread, as in education, the change has not reached all groups within a population or occurred at the same pace across countries.

Why improvements have come so quickly in some domains while there has been little change in others? One possible explanation that has been recently receiving much attention among the academic community is gender roles, which are in turn the result of differences in biological responsibilities and in preferences between men and women, but also of social norms.


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