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In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
Featuring Chris Blattman
Associate Professor for Political Science, Columbia University
Non-resident Fellow, Center for Global Development
Hosted by Matt Collin
Research Fellow, Center for Global Development in Europe
Discussant Stefano Caria
Departmental Lecturer in Development Economics, University of Oxford
Chances are that your favorite gadget or garment was made by someone in a developing country. Many of these people work in factories with low pay and poor working conditions, but some argue that these jobs can provide a more stable and secure income than the alternatives, such as subsistence agriculture. To pick apart these questions, Chris Blattman and co-author Stefan Dercon coordinated with a number of manufacturing firms in Ethiopia, each of which had more applicants for jobs than they had positions. In order to examine the impact of gaining access to a factory job, they used a lottery to randomly influence which of the applicants were hired, allowing them to study how the lives of those who worked in the factories changed over time, not only in terms of income and wealth but also across other metrics such as happiness.
However, in addition to comparing factory employment to a control group, the experiment also had another treatment aimed at fostering productive self-employment. Those in this second treatment group were given intensive business skills training and several hundred dollars in cash to start an enterprise of their choosing. In the first of this year's CGD Europe Sandwich Seminars, Professor Blattman presented preliminary evidence from the experiment, revealing how, across a variety of different measures of welfare, factory employment stacks up against promoting self-employed work.
The CGD Europe Sandwich Seminars are a series that brings some of the world's leading development scholars to discuss their new research and ideas. The presentations aim to meet an academic standard of quality and are at times technical, and retain a focus on a mixed audience of researchers and policymakers.
Every year, more than 5 million women, children and adolescents die from preventable conditions, due to a significant financing gap for healthcare for women, children and adolescents, and inadequate incentives for provision and use of quality health services, among other factors. The Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Woman Every Child is a new approach to sustainable global health financing that is supporting countries’ approaches to financing and investing in the health of their people.
Many practitioners and researchers are grappling with how to better measure women’s and girls’ empowerment in impact evaluations. Which approaches to measuring a complex social outcome like decision-making power should we use, and can we improve on our existing models? When should we use internationally standardized survey questions and when is it better to develop locally tailored ones? Can non-survey instruments pick up useful information that surveys can’t, and when should we think about using them?
Five members of the Zimbabwe Working Group traveled to Harare May 20-25 to meet with the government, opposition leaders, and a wide range of business, religious, and civil society organizations to assess prospects for free and fair elections and for meaningful political and economic reform. Please join us to hear from the delegation as they share their findings and recommendations for US policy.