Conference: What Works in Development? Thinking Big and Thinking Small

Date: Thursday, May 29, 2008 to Friday, May 30, 2008
Venue: The Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW Washington, DC

Event Summary: Bill Easterly and Jessica Cohen of Brookings recently convened a conference with leading development experts to explore one of the most vexing issues of global development: what do we really know about what works and what doesn’t when fighting global poverty? The conference focused on the ongoing debate over which paths to development really maximize results: a big-picture approach focusing on the role of institutions, macroeconomic policies, growth strategies and other country-level factors; or a more grassroots approach focusing on particular microeconomic interventions such as conditional cash transfers, bed nets, teaching materials and other micro-level improvements in service delivery on the ground. The conference objective was to shed light on both schools of thought, with the goal of achieving a consensus on how to best leverage limited resources and time in the race to lift the lives of the world’s poorest.

Evaluation related papers, amongst others:

The New Development Economics: We Shall Experiment, But How Shall We Learn?
Author: Dani Rodrik (Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government)
Discussants: Sendhil Mullainathan (Harvard University) & Martin Ravallion (World Bank)

Pricing and Access: Lessons from Randomized Evaluations in Education and Health
Author: Michael Kremer (Harvard University and the Brookings Institution)
Discussants: David Weil (Brown University) & Paul Romer (Stanford University)

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