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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.
Nancy Birdsall, Senior Fellow, President Emeritus, Center for Global Development
Sebastian Bauhoff, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
Justin Sandefur, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
Numerous studies find that child health suffers when children are exposed to conflict, and armed conflicts are more likely to occur in poor countries with weak states. Nigeria is among the most conflict-prone countries in the world, experiencing the highest number of conflict-related deaths of all Sub-Saharan African countries in many of the years since 2000, with a peak in 2012. In this paper, researchers at the Urban Institute and the Center for Global Development are studying the relationship between child health and conflict in Nigeria by combining geo-coded data from the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) of 2013 and the Social Conflict Analysis Database. In both urban and rural areas of Nigeria, they find significant increases in child wasting (acute malnutrition) in 2013 associated with proximity to violent conflict in 2012. In urban areas, infant mortality also increased significantly in 2003-2013, when the mother was exposed to conflict during pregnancy. They will discuss these findings and their implications, as well as some of the challenges to studying health in conflict-torn places.
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.