Development Economics Program

Summer Institute Master Lectures


The Challenges of Social Protection in the Developing World
Ben Olken, MIT and NBER
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Weight Gains: Measuring Inequality in Panel Data
and Other Adventures in Sampling

Andrew Foster, Brown University and NBER
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Machinistas meet Randomistas:
Some useful ML tools for RCT researchers

Randomized controlled trials and machine learning are arguably two of the most important methods that have been adopted by empirical researchers in recent years. MIT Professor Esther Duflo describes how taking both, in combination, can improve the predictive power of models and also advance understanding of causal mechanisms.
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Firms in Developing Countries:
Can trade policy serve as competition policy?

Firms in the developing world present many important, policy-relevant and unanswered questions that are of broad interest to economists. Yale Professor Pinelopi K. Goldberg describes how firms in developing countries are distinct from those in advanced economies and discusses the implications for trade policy and competition policy in developing countries of there being many small firms along with a small number of large firms.
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Behavioral Economics and Development
Harvard Professors Michael Kremer and Gautam Rao review the contributions of insights from behavioral economics and the associated psychology literature for improving understanding development and the behaviors of individuals, households and firms in developing countries. For example, they discuss the high rates of return on investments, health-related behaviors, trust and cooperation and the behavior of firms.
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Migration and Risk
Migration is an important aspect of development. Long-term or permanent migration is key for the structural transformation of an economy whereas short-term migration is a valuable income-smoothing mechanism. Yale Professor Mark Rosenzweig discusses the theory and evidence on migration and development highlighting the central role of risk.
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Rethinking Human Capital
MIT Professor Abhijit Banerjee discusses the importance of human capital — particularly education — in addressing poverty and argues that our understanding of the dynamics of the education production process over the life-course is not well understood. He urges more research on this important topic.

The Economic Organization of Households
Yale Professor Christopher Udry discusses the economics of households in low income settings with a focus on choices about human capital accumulation, wealth accumulation and intergenerational transmission. Specific attention is paid to the porous nature of households and the link to families; the nature of collective decisions by individual household members and the welfare implications of those decision-making processes.
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