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the publishing process

Six Questions with Rohini Pande

David McKenzie's picture

Rohini Pande is Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she also co-directs their Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) program. She has described her research as examining the economic costs and benefits of informal and formal institutions in the developing world and the role of public policy in changing these.

1. You have worked on a range of different topics – including rural banking and microfinance, governance, environmental regulation, son preference, and housing – but almost exclusively in one country, India. When you think about your broad research agenda, how to you think about the tradeoffs involved in focusing deeply on one country, vs exploring these topics in different places?

Starting with my PhD work on political reservations in India, I have been fascinated by the why and how of public policy in democracies and, in particular, how the political and social context shapes the choice of policy. I have also found that viewing problems of economic development through a political lens that engages with questions of power creates links across questions and topics that might before have seemed disparate.

Once you adopt this perspective, the advantage of focussing on a single country becomes apparent. Over time, one begins to understand how power structures operate and which policy lessons are generalizable and which remain specific to a location. The Indian economist Jean Drèze, who very much inspired my career choice to become a development economist, told me that he has never been to Africa. “Once I got to India,” he said, “there was more than enough for me to do for a lifetime.” His most recent book – Sense and Solidarity – provides a strong rationale for an action-research agenda that is focussed on a single country.

Q&A with Arun Agrawal, Editor of World Development Part I

David McKenzie's picture

Arun Agrawal, of the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, is the new editor of the journal World Development. He graciously agreed to continue our series of Q&As with journal editors.

Development Impact: You have taken over recently as editor of World Development. Tell us briefly about your vision for the journal – how do you aim to differentiate World Development from other development journals?

How much to referee and how to do it?

David McKenzie's picture

I came back from a week off at the start of this year to find 7 referee requests from different journals waiting for me , of which I accepted 5 and turned down 2 – clearly some people are working quickly on that New Year’s resolution to send out their papers. Getting so many requests in the same week got me thinking about both how much I want to referee this year and what I can do to be a better referee.

How much to referee?