Trade and Development Workshops

Trade and Development Workshops are held on Tuesdays from 12:30 pm – 2:00 PM (unless otherwise noted) in the John W. Kendrick Seminar Room, Room 321 at 2115 G Street (unless otherwise noted). For information please contact Professor Remi Jedwab at
RSVP here for all Trade and Development Workshops.



The Microfinance Business Model

Jonathan Morduch, New York University
Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 12:30-2:00

Jonathan Morduch is Professor of Public Policy and Economics at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and Managing Director of the Financial Access Initiative. His research centers on microfinance, social investment, and the economics of poverty. He is currently developing a theoretical framework with Jonathan Conning for understanding how governments and philanthropists can use market forces to create social change. Morduch is co-author of Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day (Princeton 2009) and The Economics of Microfinance (MIT Press 2005, 2nd edition 2010). Morduch has worked with the United Nations and World Bank, and advises global NGOs. He is also Associate Editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives and on the board of the Journal of Globalization and Development.


Crimes against Morality: Unintended Consequences of Criminalizing Sex Work

Lisa Cameron, Monash University
Tuesday, December 1st, 2015, 12:30-2:00

Lisa Cameron, Professor in Monash University’s Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics, will present her work analyzes the impacts of sex work criminalization. Her work looks at causal estimates of the impact of criminalizing sex work on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the structure of the commercial sex
market in a developing country context. Exploiting a natural experiment that arose when local officials criminalized sex work at some worksites in East Java, Indonesia, and not at others, she estimates the impact of criminalizing sex work on the health and behavior of female sex workers and their clients. Utilizing a unique dataset- a panel data set on female sex workers and data on clients of sex workers – at both criminalized and non-criminalized worksites, she finds evidence that criminalization increased the prevalence of STIs among female sex workers at criminalized worksites, as measured by self-reports and health exams. Cameron and her co-authors argue that the main mechanism driving this increase is decreased access to condoms and health exams. Therefore, this research presents new evidence that criminalizing sex work can put an already vulnerable population in a more precarious situation.
Growth of African Economies: Productivity, Policy Syndromes, & the Importance of Institutions

Augustin Kwasi Fosu, the University of Ghana
Tuesday, November 1oth, 12:30-2:00

Augustin Kwasi Fosu is a professor at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana. He is an Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria. In addition, Fosu is a Research Associate at the Brooks World Poverty Institute, the University of Manchester, and the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) at the University of Oxford. He is the former Deputy Director at The World Institute for Development Economics Research at United Nations University (UN University-Wider), and Senior Policy Advisor and Chief Economist at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. He received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Economics. He has published widely in both labor and development economics. Prof. Fosu is co-editor of the Journal of African Economies (Oxford) and serves on the editorial boards of several other journals including: African Development Review, Feminist Economics, Journal of Development Studies, Oxford Development Studies, World Bank Economic Review, and World Development.

Fosu’s paper looks at the evidence from the Growth Project of the African Economic Research Consortium, which suggests that ‘policy syndromes’ have substantially contributed to the generally poor growth in sub-Saharan Africa during post-independence. Fosu explores the importance of a ‘syndrome-free’ regime for growth in the region.


Organizational Barriers to Technology Adoption: Evidence from Soccer-Ball Producers in Pakistan

David Atkin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Tuesday, November 3, 12:30-2:00
David Atkin is an Assistant Professor in the Economics Department at MIT. His research focuses on evaluating the impacts of trade liberalization on the poor in the developing world. His recent work has studied the role of regional taste differences in altering the impacts of trade reforms in India, and educational responses to the rise of export oriented manufacturing in Mexico.


Using Technology to Promote Political Participation in Emerging Democracies: VIP – Voice and the 2015 South African Elections

Craig McIntosh, University of California – San Diego
Tuesday, October 27, 12:30-2:00
Craig McIntosh is a Professor of Economics at the School of Global Policy and Strategy, UC San Diego. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in agriculture and resource economics. McIntosh is a development economist whose work focuses on program evaluation. His main research interest is the design of institutions which promote the provision of financial services to micro-entrepreneurs. He has conducted field evaluations of innovative anti-poverty policies in Mexico, Guatemala, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania. He is currently working on research projects investigating how to boost savings among the poor, on whether schooling can be used as a tool to fight HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, and on mechanisms to improve the long-term viability of Fair Trade markets.

Abstract: Can new technology be used to improve the quality of democracy by boosting citizen participation?  In this paper we report on the VIP: Voice platform, which was constructed to allow South African citizens to engage politically through an ICT platform, to report on political events in their communities, and to monitor their polling places on election day.  We sent out over 50 million ‘Please Call Me’ messages encouraging South Africans to register on the system, and provided a multi-channel platform allowing citizens to engage politically via low-tech mobile phones and high-tech social media.  We find starkly different demographic profiles of users across channels, indicating that the success of efforts to overcome marginalization using ICT will be partially determined by the technological channel used. Attrition of users across each step in the engagement process is high, and while thousands of citizens are willing to engage in costly political actions based only on intrinsic motivation, extrinsic incentives induce large increases in participation rates.  Using the platform, we were able to recruit citizen volunteers willing to monitor 10 percent of the polling stations in 38 percent of the wards in the country.


Procuring Firm Growth: The Effects of Government Purchases on Firm Dynamics

Claudio Ferraz, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro
Tuesday, October 20, 12:30-2:00
Claudio Ferraz is Associate Professor of Economics at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio). His areas of interest are development, political economy and public economics. In particular, his research focuses on governance and accountability in developing countries and its consequences for politics and public service delivery. His talk examined whether demand shocks affect firm dynamics, and in particular whether firms that win government procurement contracts grow more compared to firms that compete for these contracts but do not win. Ferraz’s research assembled comprehensive data combining matched employee-employer data for the universe of formal firms in Brazil with the universe of federal government procurement contracts between 2004 and 2010. Exploiting a quasiexperimental design, Ferraz found that winning at least one contract in a given quarter increases firm growth by 2.2 percentage points over the quarter, with 93% of new hires coming from either unemployment or the informal sector. This effect persists beyond the length of contracts – and part of this comes from firms participating and winning more future auctions, as well as penetrating more markets.

Bones, Bacteria and Break Points: The Heterogeneous Spatial Effects of the Black Death and Long-Run Growth

Remi Jedwab, George Washington University
Tuesday, October 13, 12:30-2:00
The Black Death killed approximately 40% of Europe’s population between 1347-1353. Recent studies suggest that this mortality shock played a major role in shifting Europe onto a path to sustained economic growth. Using a novel dataset that provides information on spatial variation in plague mortality, Remi Jedwab explores the impact of the Black Death on city growth, finding evidence for aggregate convergence. On average, Europe’s cities recovered their pre-Black Death population within two centuries. However, there was considerable heterogeneity in the response to the shock. The Black Death led to the creation of new cities in areas that were relatively less urbanized before it hit. Furthermore, the Black Death led to an urban reset: cities with better geographical and non-geographical endowments relatively benefited, while other cities collapsed. Jedwab’s analysis suggests that the Black Death permanently affected the aggregate level and spatial distribution of economic activity, potentially contributing to long-run growth in Europe.

The Intergenerational Transmission of War

Filipe Campante, the Harvard Kennedy School
Tuesday, September 22, 12:30-2:00
In the context of the major US theaters of the 20th century, does war service by one generation affect service by the next generation in later wars? Exploiting the fact that general suitability for service implies that how close to age 21 an individual’s father happened to be at a time of war is a key determinant of the father’s likelihood of participation, his research found that a father’s war service experience has a positive and significant effect on his son’s likelihood of service. Even further, his work determined that war service could not be explained simply by material incentives or broader occupational choices, as paternal war service also increased sons’ educational achievement and likelihood of additional peacetime military service. Campante’s research discovers that a history of wars can help countries overcome the collective action problem of war service volunteering.

News Shocks in Open Economies: Evidence from Giant Oil Discoveries

Liugang Sheng, the Chinese University of Hong Kong
Tuesday, September 15, 12:30-2:00
Sheng’s paper uses worldwide giant oil discoveries as a directly observable measure of news shocks about future output (the day between a discovery and production is on average 4 to 6 years). His work then presents a two-sector small open economy model in order to predict the responses of macroeconomic aggregates to news of an oil discovery. Estimates of the effects of giant oil discoveries on a large panel of countries are consistent with the predictions of the work’s model. After an oil discovery, the current amount and saving rate decline for the first 5 years then rise sharply during the ensuing years. Investment rises robustly after the news arrives, GDP does not increase until after 5 years, and employment rates fall slightly for a sustained period of time.

Good Jobs, Bad Jobs: What’s Trade Got to Do With It?

James Lake, Southern Methodist University
Tuesday, October 6, 12:30-2:00
Amidst ongoing trade deals, questions have arisen over the impact of large agreements on labor markets. James Lake, an economist from Southern Methodist University, investigated the labor market outcomes of increased trade – differentiating between “good jobs” and “bad jobs” to get a more realistic picture of shifts in labor markets. As China has  become a major investor and key player in international markets, the effects of trade have increased – and Lake’s research found  a strong relationship between freer trade and labor market changes – though the destruction of “good” versus “bad” jobs depends primarily on the type of access local markets have to global competitors. What implications do these finding have in light of proposed deals and how should local tariff protection respond?

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