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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

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Publications

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Journal Articles

Passive Parenting and its Association with Early Child Development

Renfu Luo, Fang Jia, Ai Yue, Linxiu Zhang, Qijia Lyu, Yaojiang Shi, Meredith Yang, Alexis Medina, Sarah Kotb, Scott Rozelle
Early Child Development and Care , 2017

This study aims to investigate the developmental status of rural Chinese children, the extent of interactive parenting they receive, and the relation between the two. A sample of 448 six to eighteen-month-old children and their caregivers were randomly selected from two rural counties in Hebei and Yunnan provinces. According the third edition of the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, 48.7% of sample children exhibited cognitive delays, 40.6% language delays, and 35% social-emotional delays.

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Journal Articles

Oil palm expansion in Cameroon: Insights into sustainability opportunities and challenges in Africa

Elsa Ordway, Rosamond L. Naylor, Raymond N. Nkongho, Eric Lambin
Global Environmental Change , 2017

Oil palm production expanded 1.2 million hectares in sub-Saharan Africa since 1990, with expansion accelerating in several heavily forested countries since 2000.

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Journal Articles

The Education Gap of China's Migrant Children and Rural Counterparts

Xiaobing Wang, Renfu Luo, Linxiu Zhang, Scott Rozelle
Journal of Development Studies , 2017

Rural residents in China today face at least two key decisions: a) where to live and work; and b) where to send their children to school. In this paper we study the second decision: should a rural parent send their child to a public rural school or have him or her attend a private migrant school in the city. While there is an existing literature on the impact of this decision on student academic performance, one of the main shortcomings of current studies is that the data that are used to analyse this issue are not fully comparable.

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Commentary

Left Behind in the Brexit Capital?

Ian Morris
Stratfor , 2017

"Here's what the end of globalization looks like," a headline in Business Insider thundered at the end of 2016 before laying out a doom-and-gloom scenario in the wake of the Trans-Pacific Partnership's demise. The swing away from liberalization and globalization and toward protectionism and nationalism is probably the biggest political earthquake of recent times in wealthy Western countries, and explaining it is probably the biggest intellectual challenge. Until we understand its causes, after all, we cannot address them.

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Journal Articles

Tuberculosis Detection and the Challenges of Integrated Care in Rural China: A Cross-sectional Standardized Patient Study

Sean Sylvia, Hao Xue, Chengchao Zhou, Yaojiang Shi, Hongmei Yi, Huan Zhou, Scott Rozelle, Madhukar Pai, Jishnu Das
PLoS Medicine , 2017

Despite recent reductions in prevalence, China still faces a substantial tuberculosis (TB) burden, with future progress dependent on the ability of rural providers to appropriately detect and refer TB patients for further care. This study (a) provides a baseline assessment of the ability of rural providers to correctly manage presumptive TB cases; (b) measures the gap between provider knowledge and practice and; (c) evaluates how ongoing reforms of China’s health system—characterized by a movement toward “integrated care” and promo- tion of initial contact with grassroots providers—will affect the care of TB patients.

 

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Case Studies

'Locked-In' to China: The Colombo Port City Project

Karthik Sivaram
2017

This case looks at the predicament of a small nation burdened by Chinese debt, accumulated by infrastructure projects under the aegis of China’s One Belt One Road initiative. By 2016, the government of Sri Lanka owed China $8 billion (almost 10% of GDP) mainly from loans taken to construct a series of infrastructure projects, many of which proved commercially unviable. Most of these were approved by the previous government under President Rajapaksa. The Colombo Port City project was the grandest and most ambitious of them all.

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Journal Articles

Mortality In Rural China Declined As Health Insurance Coverage Increased, But No Evidence The Two Are Linked

Maigeng Zhou, Shiwei Liu, M. Kate Bundorf, Karen Eggleston, Sen Zhou
Health Affairs , 2017

Health insurance holds the promise of improving population health and survival and protecting people from catastrophic health spending. Yet evidence from lower- and middle-income countries on the impact of health insurance is limited. We investigated whether insurance expansion reduced adult mortality in rural China, taking advantage of differences across Chinese counties in the timing of the introduction of the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS).

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Journal Articles

Effect of Parental Migration on the Academic Performance of Left-behind Middle School Students in Rural China

Lili Li, Lei Wang, Jingchun Nie
China and World Economy , 2017

China’s rapid development and urbanization over the past 30 years have caused large numbers of rural residents to migrate to urban areas in search of work. This has created a generation of children who remain behind in rural areas when their parents migrate for work. Previous research has found mixed impacts of parental migration on the educational achievement of left-behind children (LBC), perhaps because of methodological deficiencies and lack of recognition of the heterogeneity of this population of children.

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Commentary

The North Korean Missile Test Pushes Xi and Putin Closer

Daniel C. Sneider
Tokyo Business Today , 2017

The most dangerous impact of North Korea’s long-range missile test this past week may not have been the one in the Sea of Japan, felt in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo. It was in Moscow where Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin locked arms in a united front on how to respond to the growing North Korea crisis. The target of this front was not, however, North Korea. It was the United States, who the Sino-Russian axis accused of pursuing a military “buildup” in the region.

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Commentary

Surviving the Trump-Moon Summit

Daniel C. Sneider
Toyo Keizai Online (Tokyo Business Today) , 2017

In the days leading up to the Washington summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump, the tension in Seoul was hard to escape. Fears of an open clash between the two leaders, of a handshake that went on too long, or of a hostile early morning tweet directed at Moon were widespread. But when a senior national security advisor to Moon met a group of American visitors after the first day of talks, he was visibly relieved. The dinner between Moon and U.S.

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Working Papers

ASEAN's Futures

Donald K. Emmerson
June 2017 , 2017

The future of ASEAN is necessarily unknown. Its futures, however, can be guessed with less risk of being wrong. My purpose here is not to predict with confidence but to “pandict” with reticence—not to choose one assured future but to scan several that could conceivably occur. Also, what follows is merely a range, not the range.  The five different ASEANs of the future all too briefly sketched below are meant to be suggestive, but they are neither fully exclusive nor jointly exhaustive. Potentiality outruns imagination.

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Books

Renegotiating the World Order: Institutional Change in International Relations

Phillip Lipscy
Cambridge University Press , 2017

Rising powers often seek to reshape the world order, triggering confrontations with those who seek to defend the status quo. In recent years, as international institutions have grown in prevalence and influence, they have increasingly become central arenas for international contestation. Phillip Y. Lipscy examines how international institutions evolve as countries seek to renegotiate the international order. He offers a new theory of institutional change and explains why some institutions change flexibly while others successfully resist or fall to the wayside.

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Commentary

Social Media, New Technologies and the Middle East

Russell A. Berman
The Caravan , 2017

It is a global story, a new industrial revolution. The spread of the internet and the proliferation of social media have led to dramatic changes with salutary results: greater access to more diverse information, gateways to goods and services that have transformed the retail experience, and opportunities to engage and network with expanded communities, while still staying in touch with friends and family, all thanks to the blessings of these new technologies.

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Case Studies

Building Hydropower Plants in Uganda: Who is the Best Partner?

Lin Le
2017

Uganda has long been plagued by chronic power shortages. Determined to boost the country’s economic growth, Ugandan leaders have decided to build two large-scale hydropower plants at Karuma (600MW) and Isimba (183 MW). Irene Muloni, the head of the nation’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals Development (MEMD), has two options for financing and building the hydropower facilities: either to build the dams as independent power projects (IPPs), or to accept Chinese financing and contract with Chinese construction companies.

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Working Papers

The Economic Costs of Drug-Trafficking Violence in Mexico

Gustavo Robles, Beatriz Magaloni, Gabriela Calderón
2017

The levels of violence in Mexico have dramatically increased in the last few years due to structural changes in the drug trafficking business. The increase in the number of drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) fighting over the control of territory and trafficking routes has resulted in a substantial increase in the rates of homicides and other crimes. This study evaluates the economic costs of drug-related violence.

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Policy Briefs

Impact Evaluation: Program Jóvenes con Porvenir

Beatriz Magaloni, Beatriz Magaloni, Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Brenda Jarillo Rabling
International Crime and Violence Lab, page(s): 20 , 2017

Jóvenes con Porvenir is a public-funded program run by the government of Zapopan. This pioneering policy initiative was designed and implemented in response to the major social and economic challenges affecting young people. The program offers scholarships to young men and women not enrolled in school, so they can attend vocational training courses regardless of their employment status.

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Case Studies

To be "dam"-ed: Navigating Stakeholder Relations to Bring Energy to Africa with Inga 3

Kate Gasparro
2017

This case follows the development of the Inga 3, the third hydroelectric plant to be built on the Inga River in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The Inga 3, with a capacity of 3,000 MW, would provide clean energy to the continent and a next step for President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative.

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Journal Articles

Assessing College Critical Thinking: Preliminary Results from the Chinese HEIghten® Critical Thinking Assessment

Ou Lydia Liu, Amy Shaw, Lin Gu, Guirong Li, Shangfeng Hu, Ningning Yu , Liping Ma, Changqing Xu, Fei Guo, Qi Su, Elena Kardanovaj, Igor Chirikov, Jinghuan Shi, Zhaolei Shi, Huan Wang, Prishant Loyalka
Higher Education Research & Development , 2017
Assessing student learning outcomes has become a global trend in higher education. In this paper, we report on the validation of the Chinese HEIghten® Critical Thinking assessment with a nationally representative sample of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science students from 35 institutions in China. Key findings suggest that there was a test delivery mode effect favoring the paper tests over the online tests. In general, the psychometric quality of the items was satisfactory for low-stakes, group-level uses but there were a few items with low discrimination that awaits further investigation. The relationships between test scores and various external variables such as college entrance examination scores, university elite status and student perceptions of the test were as expected. We conclude with speculations on the key findings and discussion of directions for future research.
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Working Papers

Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Japan: Why Japan (Still) Matters for Global Competition

Kenji E. Kushida, Kenji Kushida
2017

Through the 1980s, Japan was significant in global competition largely by shaping global technological trajectories, transforming major global industries, and contributing to fundamental innovations in industrial production processes, creating enough wealth along the way to propel Japan to the world’s second largest economy. After the economic bubble burst in the early 1990s, however, other places such as Silicon Valley in the United States, moved to the forefront of transforming technology, industries, and production, creating vast wealth along the way.

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Working Papers

Unpacking Teacher Professional Development

Guirong Li, Chengfang Liu
Working Paper , 2017

Despite massive investments in teacher professional development (PD) programs in developing countries, there is little evidence on their effectiveness. We present the results of a large-scale, randomized evaluation of a high-profile PD program in China, in which teachers were randomized to receive PD; PD plus follow-up; PD plus evaluation of their command of the PD content; or no PD. Precise estimates indicate that PD and associated interventions failed to improve teacher and student outcomes.

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Journal Articles

Entrepreneurship, Small Businesses and Economic Growth in Cities

Yong Suk Lee
Journal of Economic Geography , 2017

Does entrepreneurship cause local employment and wage growth, and if so, how large is the impact? Empirical analysis of such a question is difficult because of the joint determination of entrepreneurship and economic growth. This article uses two different sets of variables—the homestead exemption levels in state bankruptcy laws from 1975 and the share of metropolitan statistical area (MSA) overlaying aquifers—to instrument for entrepreneurship and examine urban employment and wage growth between 1993 and 2002.

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Books

States in the Developing World

Miguel Centeno, Atul Kohli, Deborah J. Yashar, Dinsha Mistree
Cambridge University Press , 2017

"What should states in the developing world do and how should they do it? How have states in the developing world addressed the challenges of promoting development, order, and inclusion? States in the developing world are supposed to build economies, control violence, and include the population. How they do so depends on historical origins and context as well as policy decisions.

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Journal Articles

ASEAN between China and America: Is It Time to Try Horsing the Cow?

Donald K. Emmerson
TRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia , 2017

Admirers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are impressed with the fact that it continues to exist and that an outright war has never broken out between its members. Also often praised is the value to the region of promoting cooperation through the consensual process known as the ‘ASEAN Way’. If ASEAN is a talk shop, these observers say, talking is at least better than fighting.

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Journal Articles

Inequalities in the Pathway to College in China: When Do Students from Poor Areas Fall Behind?

Prashant Loyalka, James Chu, Jianguo Wei, Natalie Johnson, Joel Reniker
China Quarterly , 2017
Inequalities in college access are a major concern for policymakers in both developed and developing countries. Policymakers in China have largely tried to address these inequalities by helping disadvantaged students successfully transition from high school to college. However, they have paid less attention to the possibility that inequalities in college access may also arise earlier in the pathway to college. The purpose of this paper is to understand where inequalities emerge along the pathway to college in China, focusing on three major milestones after junior high. By analysing administrative data on over 300,000 students from one region of China, we find that the largest inequalities in college access emerge at the first post-compulsory milestone along the pathway to college: when students transition from junior high to high school. In particular, only 60per cent of students from poor counties take the high school entrance exam(comparedtonearly100 per cent of students from non-poor counties). Furthermore, students from poor counties are about one and a half times less likely to attend academic high school and elite academic high school than students from non-poor counties.
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Working Papers

The Gender Gap in Math Performance, Self-Concept, and Anxiety: Rural and Urban China in an International Context

Meichen Lu, Yaojiang Shi, Fang Chang, Kaleigh Kenny, Scott Rozelle
2017
Evidence from developed countries shows that there is a significant gender gap in STEM occupations. Girls may begin to underperform in math early as primary school. One possible explanation is the negative stereotype threat towards girls. However, this has been understudied in rural China. In this paper, we describe the math performance gender gap in rural China, compare the gender gap between rural and urban China, and finally compare the Chinese situation with other countries. We further examine possible explanations for the math performance gender gap from comparative perspectives.
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