With rigorous economic research and practical policy solutions, we focus on the issues and institutions that are critical to global development. Explore our core themes and topics to learn more about our work.
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.
Center for Global Development and The Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies co-hosted a Massachusetts Avenue Development Seminar (MADS)* on "Internal Migration and Poverty Reduction in Tanzania: Evidence from a Long-Term Tracking Survey" featuring Kathleen Beegle, Senior Economist, Development Research Group, The World Bank. Karen Macours, Assistant Professor of International Economics, Johns Hopkins University served as the discussant.
ABSTRACT: Finding routes out of poverty remains a key issue for households and policy makers alike. Most long-term evidence from across the world suggests that poverty reduction tends to be correlated with intergenerational mobility out of rural areas and agriculture into more urban non-agricultural settings. Physical and economic mobility then go hand in hand. This paper uses unique evidence from the Kagera region in Tanzania on poverty and wealth dynamics. Building on a relatively large and detailed panel data survey conducted in 1991-94, we traced, in 2004, individuals ever interviewed in the baseline waves. Detailed data on these individuals and their current households were collected, allowing a detailed study of the changes in wealth and poverty over time for these individuals. The average consumption change of individuals found outside their baseline village was more than 4 times higher than that of individuals found within the same village. For those who stayed in the village we see basic needs poverty rates drop by about 4 percentage points over 13 years, while for those who moved elsewhere within the region we see basic needs poverty rates drop by about 12 percentage points, and for those who moved out of the region drop by 23 percentage points. Had we only focused on those individuals still residing in the baseline village we would have concluded that average consumption went up by a bit under $30 and poverty rates declined with 4 percentage points. In other words, had we not interviewed people who moved out of the village--a practice found in many panel surveys--then we would have seriously underestimated the extent to which poverty has gone down over the past 13 years in the Kagera Region. Aside from this, we would have omitted from our sample that part of the population with the highest information content on the reasons for moving out of poverty.
*The Massachusetts Avenue Development Seminar (MADS) series is an effort by the Center for Global Development and The Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies to take advantage of the incredible concentration of great international development scholars in the Metro Washington, DC area. The series seeks to bring together members of this community and improve communication between them.
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.