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Featuring 2013 Commitment to Development Award Honoree
Chief Executive Officer
Managing Editor Foreign Policy Magazine
Center for Global Development
On the evening of Tuesday, February 11th, 2014, the Center for Global Development and Foreign Policy Magazine honored Unilever CEO Paul Polman with the 2013 Commitment to Development "Ideas in Action" Award.
Polman has been an outspoken and effective advocate for reducing tropical deforestation associated with the production of consumer goods across the industry. He has also been active in nutrition promotion and as a participant in high-level UN discussions on the post-2015 development goals. Polman is the Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a CEO-led organization of companies dedicated to creating a sustainable future for business and society; a member of the B Team, a group of global business leaders dedicated to making business a driving force for social and environmental benefit in addition to economic; and a member of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, a consortium of governments, organizations, and individuals working towards ending hunger and malnutrition.
The Commitment to Development Award, bestowed annually since 2003, honors an individual or organization for making a significant contribution to changing attitudes and policies of the rich and powerful toward the developing world. Previous recipients include US Senator Richard Lugar (2012), Geeta Rao Gupta (2011), The ONE Campaign (2008), and Gordon Brown (2005). More information about the Award and a full list of previous winners is available here.
In a recent paper, Kate Ambler and coauthors studied the impact of one-season cash transfers for agricultural investment in Senegal and Malawi, using data from a randomized control trial (RCT) in each country. They found evidence that transfers reduced both the number of decision makers and female decision making in Senegal in the short-run, particularly for measures directly related to agriculture. However, the effects disappeared two years after the transfers. Conversely, the authors find transfers in the Malawi program led to robust transitory increases in these measures, seeing a greater impact related to the number of decision makers in the household persisting after two year period. Join us for the latest CGD Invited Research Forum to discuss these opposing findings on the effects of cash transfers on household decision making.
Indian agriculture remains vulnerable to the vagaries of weather, and the looming threat of climate change may expose this vulnerability further. Using district-level data on temperature, rainfall and crop production, Siddharth Hari’s paper first documents a long-term trend of rising temperatures, declining average precipitation and increase in extreme precipitation events. One key finding is that the impact of temperature and rainfall are felt only in the extreme: when temperatures are much higher, rainfall is significantly lower, and the number of “dry days” greater is than normal. He also finds that these impacts are significantly more adverse in unirrigated areas (and hence rainfed crops) compared to irrigated areas. Can policy makers react to the challenges of climate change and find ways to get “more crop for every drop?"
Estimating intergenerational mobility in developing countries is difficult because matched parent-child income records are rarely available and education is measured very coarsely. In particular, there are no established methods for comparing educational mobility for subsamples of the population when the education distribution is changing over time.
In their recent paper, Sam Asher and coauthors present new methods and new administrative data to overcome this gap, and study intergenerational mobility across groups and across space in India. They find that the intergenerational mobility for the population as a whole has remained constant since liberalization, but cross-group changes have been substantial. Rising mobility among historically marginalized "Scheduled Castes" is almost exactly offset by declining intergenerational mobility among Muslims, a comparably sized group that has few constitutional protections. These findings contest the conventional wisdom that marginalized groups in India have been catching up on average. The paper also explores heterogeneity across space, generating the first high-resolution geographic measures of intergenerational mobility across India, with results across 5600 rural subdistricts and 2300 cities and towns.