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Political Economy of Development: Democratic Institutions and Poverty Alleviation

Thursday, February 13, 2020, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

The workshop discusses different approaches to the ongoing problem of widespread poverty in developing countries. In the center of the discussion is the problematic of the synergy effects of democratic institutions and targeted social programs, such as conditional cash transfer programs – CCTs – for alleviation of poverty. Bringing in the case of Brazil’s Bolsa Familia program, the largest cash transfer program in the world, the workshop participants seek to debate and examine the challenges that democracies face when formulating and implementing well-designed social programs. They will also discuss the role of many problems of developing societies, such as nepotism, corruption, and political polarization, that obstruct the efficient distribution of welfare and improvement of public policies. The workshop will pay particular attention to the use of experimental and quasi-experimental methods and to intricacies of obtaining, maintaining, and analyzing data from large administrative data sets.