The CGD Invited Research Forum: A Home for Top Research in Washington for 12 Years and Counting

February 24, 2014

CGD recently moved to a new facility with great event spaces. One of those events is the monthly CGD Invited Research Forum (CIRF), which brings top development economists and political scientists from the Washington area and beyond to present their latest work. It’s one of several ways that CGD remains at the frontier of research.

CIRF is just a new name for a 12 year-old seminar series, known before our move as the Massachusetts Avenue Development Seminar (MADS). Its story starts in 2002. Bill Easterly, then at the World Bank, had been inviting his colleagues from around the Washington area and beyond to present at the Bank’s research group. When Bill joined CGD at its Massachusetts Avenue office in 2002, he brought the seminar series with him and named it after its new location. When Bill moved on to NYU, I took over running the seminar. For years thereafter I ran it jointly with Karen Macours, then at Johns Hopkins SAIS, and these days I run it jointly with Justin Sandefur.

Back when our series began, there were far fewer open forums in Washington to bring together professionals and researchers to hear seminars on cutting edge work in development economics. At the time the CGD series filled this important gap, and today, we are fortunate that seminars at Georgetown, SAIS, and IFPRI also have regular research development research seminars. As of last year, there’s even a full annual research conference for development researchers in DC, the Washington Area Development Economics Symposium (WADES).

Over the last 12 years, our seminar has attracted many of the very best researchers from universities, think tanks, and the international financial institutions. Most of presenters and discussants are based in the DC area, but we have also welcomed scholars passing through town from the universities around the world, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, UCLA, Tufts, Michigan, Dartmouth, Duke, Oxford, and the Paris School of Economics. For most CIRF events we invite a discussant, from outside CGD, who is a leading specialist researcher in the speaker’s area.

CIRF events regularly draw 30–40 guests, from researchers and students to government officials, to international organization staff, to foundation and think tank colleagues. The series continues to fulfill its original mandate, bringing together researchers and practitioners to learn about and discuss cutting edge academic research in development economics.

If you’re in Washington, please join us on Tuesday March 4, for the first CIRF Brownbag. We’re honored to host our own alumna, Karen Macours, to present “More Schooling, More Learning, and More Earnings: Effects of a CCT in Nicaragua.”  We hope to see you there, and we look forward to CIRFing for many years to come.

If you have been receiving invitations to the MADS you are already on the list. If not, you can sign up for the CIRF invitations here. Usually there is about one invitation per month.

Update: An earlier version of this post said "no other open forum" instead of "far fewer open forums."


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