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International Development

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International Development

Experts in health, education, governance, energy and social justice collaborate to learn how different levers of action can impact communities.

Research Spotlight

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Causes of Indonesia’s Forest Fires

New research features a 30,000-village case study of the 2015 fire season on Sumatra and Kalimantan and asks which villages, for a given level of spatial fire risk, are more likely to have fire.
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Fateful Decisions: Choices That Will Shape China's Future

Experts provide a cutting-edge analytic framework for understanding the decisions that will determine China's trajectory.
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Do Immigrants Assimilate More Slowly Today Than in the Past?

Using millions of historical census records and modern birth certificates, new research documents that immigrants assimilated into U.S. society at similar rates in the past and present.

Featured Scholars

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Lisa Blaydes

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
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Lisa Blaydes

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Associate Professor of Political Science
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Ertharin Cousin

Visiting Scholar at the Center on Food Security and the Environment
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Ertharin Cousin

Visiting Scholar at the Center on Food Security and the Environment
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Alberto Díaz-Cayeros

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
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Alberto Díaz-Cayeros

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Affiliated faculty, Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law
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Prashant Loyalka

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
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Prashant Loyalka

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Education

Upcoming Events

See all upcoming events related to our research on international development.

Publications

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Case Studies

Weighing the Environment: Ghana's Bui Dam

Serena Li
2018

This case examines the environmental permitting process leading up to the construction of the Bui Dam, the second largest hydropower facility in Ghana. Intended to provide much needed relief to the nation’s persistent power challenges, the project secured proper funding from China Exim Bank in 2005, fulfilling several decades of attempts to build the dam. At issue, however, are the potential environmental and social impacts associated with dam construction.

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Journal Articles

The Quality of Tuberculosis Care in Urban Migrant Clinics in China

Hao Xue, Jennifer Hager, Qi An, Kai Liu, Jing Zhang, Emma Auden, Bingyan Yang, Jie Yang, Hongyan Liu, Jingchun Nie, Aiqin Wang, Chengchao Zhou, Yaojiang Shi, Sean Sylvia
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , 2018

Large and increasing numbers of rural-to-urban migrants provided new challenges for tuberculosis control in large cities in China and increased the need for high quality tuberculosis care delivered by clinics in urban migrant communities. Based on a household survey in migrant communities, we selected and separated clinics into those that mainly serve migrants and those that mainly serve local residents. Using standardized patients, this study provided an objective comparison of the quality of tuberculosis care delivered by both types of clinics and examined factors related to quality care. Only 27% (95% confidence interval (CI) 14–46) of cases were correctly managed in migrant clinics, which is significantly worse than it in local clinics (50%, 95% CI 28–72). Clinicians with a base salary were 41 percentage points more likely to demonstrate better case management. Furthermore, clinicians with upper secondary or higher education level charged 20 RMB lower out of pocket fees than less-educated clinicians. In conclusion, the quality of tuberculosis care accessed by migrants was very poor and policies to improve the quality should be prioritized in current health reforms. Providing a base salary was a possible way to improve quality of care and increasing the education attainment of urban community clinicians might reduce the heavy barrier of medical expenses for migrants

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Journal Articles

A move beyond sustainability certification: The evolution of the chocolate industry's sustainable sourcing practices

Tannis Thorlakson
Business Strategy and Development , 2018

Companies' sustainable sourcing practices play an increasing role in addressing the social and environmental challenges in agricultural supply chains. Yet the approaches companies take to regulate their supply chains continue to evolve. I use the chocolate industry as a critical case to explore how and why companies have changed their approaches to sustainable cocoa sourcing over the last 20 years.

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Journal Articles

Armed conflict and child mortality in Africa: a geospatial analysis

Zachary Wagner, Sam Heft-Neal, Zulfiqar A Bhutta,Robert E Black, Marshall Burke, Eran Bendavid
The Lancet , 2018

The extent to which armed conflicts—events such as civil wars, rebellions, and interstate conflicts—are an important driver of child mortality is unclear. While young children are rarely direct combatants in armed conflict, the violent and destructive nature of such events might harm vulnerable populations residing in conflict-affected areas. A 2017 review estimated that deaths of individuals not involved in combat outnumber deaths of those directly involved in the conflict, often more than five to one.

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Journal Articles

The Politics of Energy and Climate Change in Japan under Abe: Abenergynomics

Trevor Incerti, Phillip Lipscy
Asian Survey , 2018

Under what we call Abenergynomics, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō has used energy policy to support the growth objectives of Abenomics, even when the associated policies are publicly unpopular, opposed by utility companies, or harmful to the environment. We show how Abenergynomics has shaped Japanese policy on nuclear power, electricity deregulation, renewable energy, and climate change.

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Journal Articles

Can Reading Programs Improve Reading Skills and Academic Performance in Rural China?

Qiufeng Gao, Huan Wang, Di Mo, Yaojiang Shi, Kaleigh Kenny, Scott Rozelle
China Economic Review , 2018

In this paper, we attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of reading programs at improving the reading skills and academic achievement of primary school students in rural China. Using survey data on 4108 students, we find that students exhibited low levels of reading achievement, independent reading quantity, and reading confidence in the absence of any treatment. However, our results also suggest that properly designed treatments may improve the reading and academic outcomes of students.

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Working Papers

Impact of Online Computer Assisted Learning on Education: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in China

Bin Tang, Boya Wang, Di Mo, Linxiu Zhang, Scott Rozelle, Emma Auden, Blake Mandell
Working Paper , 2018

Education of poor and disadvantaged populations has been a long-standing challenge for education systems in both developed and developing countries. In China, millions of students in rural areas and migrant communities lag far behind their urban counterparts in terms of academic achievement. When they fall behind, they often have no way to catch up. Many of their parents have neither the skills nor the money to provide remedial tutoring; rural teachers often do not have time to give students the individual attention they need.

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Journal Articles

Hierarchical Modeling of Seed Variety Yields and Decision Making for Future Planting Plans

Huaiyang Zhong, Xiaocheng Li, David Lobell, Stefano Ermon, Margaret Brandeau
Environment Systems and Decisions , 2018

Eradicating hunger and malnutrition is a key development goal of the twenty first century. This paper addresses the problem of optimally identifying seed varieties to reliably increase crop yield within a risk-sensitive decision making framework. Specifically, a novel hierarchical machine learning mechanism for predicting crop yield (the yield of different seed varieties of the same crop) is introduced.

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Books

Manipulating Globalization: The Influence of Bureaucrats on Business in China

Chen, Ling
2018

The era of globalization saw China emerge as the world's manufacturing titan. However, the "made in China" model—with its reliance on cheap labor and thin profits—has begun to wane. Beginning in the 2000s, the Chinese state shifted from attracting foreign investment to promoting the technological competitiveness of domestic firms. This shift caused tensions between winners and losers, leading local bureaucrats to compete for resources in government budget, funding, and tax breaks.

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Journal Articles

Satellite detection of cover crops and their effects on crop yield in the Midwestern United States

Christopher Seifert, George Azzari, David Lobell
Environmental Research Letters , 2018

The practice of planting winter cover crops has seen renewed interest as a solution to environmental issues with the modern maize- and soybean-dominated row crop production system of the US Midwest. We examine whether cover cropping patterns can be assessed at scale using publicly available satellite data, creating a classifier with 91.5% accuracy (.68 kappa).

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Journal Articles

Ability Tracking and Social Trust in China's Rural Secondary School System

Fan Li, Prashant Loyalka, Hongmei Yi, Yaojiang Shi, Natalie Johnson, Scott Rozelle
School Effectiveness and School Improvement , 2018

The goal of this paper is to describe and analyze the relationship between ability tracking and student social trust, in the context of low-income students in developing countries. Drawing on the results from a longitudinal study among 1,436 low-income students across 132 schools in rural China, we found a significant lack of interpersonal trust and confidence in public institutions among poor rural young adults. We also found that slow-tracked students have a significantly lower level of social trust, comprised of interpersonal trust and confidence in public institutions, relative to their fast-tracked peers. This disparity might further widen the gap between relatively privileged students who stay in school and less privileged students who drop out of school. These results suggest that making high school accessible to more students may improve social trust among rural low-income young adults.

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Journal Articles

Unequal Access to College in China: How Far Have Poor, Rural Students Been Left Behind?

Hongbin Li, Prashant Loyalka, Binzhen Wu, Jieyu Xie, Scott Rozelle
The China Quarterly , 2018

In the 1990s, rural youth from poor counties in China had limited access to college. After mass college expansion started in 1998, however, it was unclear whether rural youth from poor counties would gain greater access. The aim of this paper is to examine the gap in college and elite college access between rural youth from poor counties and other students after expansion. We estimate the gaps in access by using data on all students who took the college entrance exam in 2003. Our results show that gaps in access remained high even after expansion.

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Journal Articles

Effect of a Local Vision Care Center on Eyeglasses Use and School Performance in Rural China A Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial

Yue Ma, Nathan Congdon, Yaojiang Shi, Ruth Hogg, Alexis Medina, Matthew Boswell, Scott Rozelle, Mony Iver
JAMA Ophthalmology , 2018

Can a county-based vision center increase eyeglasses use and improve school performance among primary schoolchildren in rural China? This cluster randomized clinical trial of 31 schools and 2613 participants showed that children who received eyeglasses earlier in the school year performed significantly better on an end-of-year mathematics test than children who received eyeglasses later in the year, equivalent to half a semester. Provision of free eyeglasses also improved children's use of spectacles.

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Journal Articles

Contract Teachers and Student Achievement in Rural China - Evidence from Class Fixed Effects

Wang Lei, Siqi Zhang, Mengjie Li, Yonglei Sun, Sean Sylvia, Enyan Yang, Guangrong Ma, Linxiu Zhang, Di Mo, Scott Rozelle
The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics , 2018
For schooling to play an important role in the development of human capital, the system of education needs to provide quality education, which among other things requires high-quality teachers. Facing fiscal constraints and growing enrolments,
school systems in developing countries often supplement their teaching staff by hiring contract teachers. However, there is limited evidence on how the effectiveness of these teachers compares to that of civil service teachers. We use a dataset from rural primary schools in western China to estimate the causal effect of contract teachers on student achievement and find that gains in student scores on standardised examinations in mathematics and Chinese are less in classes taught by contract teachers than in classes taught by civil service teachers. The results demonstrate that China’s education system needs to focus on producing high-quality teachers to improve the quality of schooling in its rural education system. The findings imply that educators in developing countries should not only seek to hire increasingly more civil service teachers in rural schools, but they should also identify ways of improving the quality of contract teachers. If efforts to improve teaching can succeed, rural students can learn more, earn higher incomes and contribute more to the productivity of the overall economy.
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Journal Articles

Assessing the Quality of Upper-Secondary Vocational Education and Training: Evidence from China

Hongmei Yi, Guirong Li, Liying Li, Prashant Loyalka, Linxiu Zhang, Jiajia Xu, Elena Kardanova, Henry Shi, James Chu
Comparative Education Review , 2018
An increasing number of policymakers in developing countries have made the mass expansion of upper-secondary vocational education and training (VET) a top priority. The goal of this study is to examine whether VET fulfills the objectove of building skills and abilities along multiple dimensions and further identify which school-level factors help vocational students build these skills and abilities. To fulfill this goal, we analyzed representative, longitudinal data that we collected on more than 12,000 students from 118 schools in once province of central China. First, descriptive analysis shows approximately 90% of VET students do not make any gains in vocational or general skills. In addition, negative behaviors (misbehavior in the classroom, anti-social behavior, and other risky behaviors) are highly prevalent among VET students. A nontrivial proportion of student internships also fail to meet minimum government requirements for student safety and well-being. Perhaps as a result of these outcomes, more than 60% of students express dissatisfaction with their VET programs, as evidenced by eitehr self-reports or dropping out. Finally, using a multi-level model, we find that school inputs (such as school size, teacher qualifications, and per pupil expenditure) are not correlated with vocational and general skill at the end of the school year, or student dropout in the academic year.
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Books

Reinventing Japan: New Directions in Global Leadership (Book Chapter)

Kenji E. Kushida, Martin Fackler, Yoichi Funabashi, Kenji Kushida, Et al.
2018

Highly readable yet deeply researched, this book serves as an essential guide to the many ways in which Japan has risen to become one of the world's most creative and innovative societies.


• Challenges conventional views of Japan as mired in two unproductive "lost decades" by documenting the myriad ways in which the nation has embraced creativity and innovation

• Describes the ways in which Japan has transformed our lives and explains the guiding principles of one of the world's least understood, most vibrantly creative societies

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Working Papers

Abenomics and Japan's Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Is the Third Arrow Pointed in the Right Direction for Global Competition in the Digital Era of Silicon Valley?

Kenji E. Kushida, Kenji Kushida
2018

Given that much of the global leadership in value creation over the past couple of decades has been driven by the Silicon Valley model – not only a geographic region but a distinct ecosystem of complementary characteristics – the basic question this paper asks is how far Japan’s Abenomics reforms are pushing Japan towards being able to compete in an era dominated by Silicon Valley firms. 

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Journal Articles

The decline in bank-led corporate restructuring in Japan: 1981-2010

Takeo Hoshi, Takeo Hoshi, Satoshi Koibuchi, Ulrike Schaede
Journal of the Japanese and International Economies , 2018

Using a unique dataset on all major corporate restructuring events in Japan between 1981 and 2010, we assess changes in the role of the main bank in guiding corporate turarounds, and the economic consequences of these changes for distressed firms. We identify firms in distress among all listed firms based on accounting data, and we separately identify firms undergoing corporate restructuring based on a newspaper search for the Japanese term “saiken”.

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Journal Articles

The Elusive Goal of Global Food Security

Rosamond L. Naylor
2018

Ending world hunger is a universal goal, yet progress and social awareness of the issue waxes and wanes in the course of broader political and economic developments. The massive famine in China under Chairman Mao’s 1958–62 Great Leap Forward, a succession of severe droughts and associated famines in India in 1965–66, and the political violence that accompanied regime change in Indonesia in 1964–67 left tens of millions of people starving and drew global attention to the threat of food insecurity.

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Policy Briefs

ASEAN @ 50, Southeast Asia @ Risk: What Should Be Done?

Shiro Armstrong, Niruban Balachandran, John Blaxland, Ja Ian Chong, Daniel Wei Boon Chua, Karl Eikenberry, Ralf Emmers, Donald K. Emmerson, Lori Forman, Bates Gill, James Hartsell, Richard Heydarian, James Hirai, Yoichi Kato, Evan Laksmana, Justin Nankivell, Kerry Lynn Nankivell, Kaewkamol "Karen" Pitakdumrongkit, Greg Poling, Greg Raymond, Tan See Seng, Huong Le Thu, Barbara Weisel, Belinda A. Yeomans
2018

In October 2017, twenty-two scholars from eight countries attended a workshop titled “ASEAN @ 50, Southeast Asia @ Risk: What should be done?” The workshop was designed to facilitate a frank and creative discussion of policy recommendations, with the intention of providing the resulting proposals to ASEAN member states and other regional powers.

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Journal Articles

Rural education across China's 40 years of Reform: past successes and future challenges

Ai Yue, Bin Tang, Yaojiang Shi, Jingjing Tang, Guanminjia Shang, Alexis Medina, Scott Rozelle
China Agricultural Economic Review , 2018

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe the policy and trends in rural education in China over the past 40 years; and also discuss a number of challenges that are faced by China’s rural school system.

Design/methodology/approach – The authors use secondary data on policies and trends over the past 40 years for preschool, primary/junior high school, and high school.

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Journal Articles

Has Abenomics Succeeded in Raising Japan's Inward Foreign Direct Investment?

Takeo Hoshi
Asian Economic Policy Review , 2018

Japan is known to have an exceptionally low level of inward foreign direct investment (FDI). The promotion of inward FDI is one of the policy goals of Abenomics structural reforms. This present paper studies the accumulation of Japan's inward FDI stock during the first 3 years of Abenomics (2012–2015), and finds no evidence that Japan's inward FDI stock increased more than the trend before Abenomics started would have predicted.

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Books

Handbook of International Food and Agricultural Policies

Timothy E. Josling, William H. Meyers, Thomas Johnson, Donna H. Roberts, Karl Meilke
World Scientific Publishing , 2017
Handbook of International Food and Agricultural Policies is a three-volume set that aims to provide an accessible reference for those interested in the aims and implementation of food and farm policies throughout the world. The treatment is authoritative, comprehensive and forward looking. The three volumes combine scholarship and pragmatism, relating academic writing to real-world issues faced by policy-makers. A companion volume looking at the future resource and climate challenges for global agriculture will be published in the future.
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Journal Articles

Improving environmental practices in agricultural supply chains: The role of company-led standards

Tannis Thorlakson, Jens Hainmueller, Eric Lambin
Global Environmental Change , 2017

Food retailers and manufacturers are increasingly committing to address agricultural sustainability issues in their supply chains. In place of using established eco-certifications, many companies define their own supply chain sustainability standards.

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