UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

PacDev18 Draws Hundreds of Development Economists Interested in Advancing Research

March 16, 2018

Approximately 200 people recently visited UC Davis to attend the Pacific Development Conference, one of the major conferences dedicated to development economics each year.

“This is an opportunity to advance cutting-edge research on economic development,” said Michael Carter, UC Davis professor of agricultural and resource economics. “It’s a place for us to learn and support the advancement of good research.”

PacDev is an event that brings together researchers and practitioners to present and discuss work that enhances the understanding of economic development, advances theoretical and empirical methods, and improves development interventions and policy. It was sponsored by the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE), the Department of Economics, and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Assets and Market Access.

ARE Ph.D. Student Laura Meinzen-Dick helped organize PacDev18. She said that approximately 300 papers were submitted and 63 were accepted for presentation. Overall, about 40 percent of the presenters were Ph.D. candidates and graduate students, including some from UC Davis.

“It’s a pretty intense day of getting feedback on papers,” Meinzen-Dick said. “This is an event where you get to have substantive engagement with your peers.”

Keynote speaker was Dr. Paul Niehaus, an associate professor of economics at UC San Diego, where he works with governments in emerging markets to improve the implementation of social programs. Foreign Policy named him one of its 100 leading “Global Thinkers” in 2013. He spoke about his research in how the scale of an experimental study may have a big effect on how well the results apply to broader public policy. For example, data from a small-scale intervention may not predict large-scale impacts.

“How big of an impact do these decisions have on the lives of people on the ground?” Niehaus asked. “How can we make a program evaluation more valuable? These are the things we should worry about any time we do program evaluation for informing policy.”

Click here to view the conference papers. 


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