Economic Policy Lessons from History

Quarantine area, during bubonic plague outbreak, Karachi, India. Photograph, 1897. Photo courtesy Wellcome Collection.
Quarantine area during a bubonic plague outbreak in Karachi, 1897. Photo courtesy Wellcome Collection. (CC BY 4.0)

The Yale Development Dialogues: Economic Policy Lessons from History convenes economists, historians, journalists, and policymakers to apply insights from history and economics to the most pressing policy issues confronting developing countries: health, the environment, inequality, gender, and education. With a particular focus on South Asia, the series aims to spark conversations that cross lines of geography, discipline, and historical period. The series is a collaboration of EGC, the South Asian Studies Council at the MacMillan Center, and the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.

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Explore dialogues in the 2020-21 series

Climate Change and Global Development: Net-Zero after Covid-19?

How will the economic relationships between upper- and lower-income countries influence the path of climate change? The seventh Yale Development Dialogue focused on how to manage natural capital in order to reverse environmental destruction.

Sustainable Development on an Urbanizing Planet

In any search for “green” solutions to poverty, cities must play a large role. Kate Brown, Edward Glaeser, Sunil Amrith, and Rory Stewart discussed the features of cities that are most conducive to sustainable development and on those that are not.

Aid, geopolitics, and power: Are human rights back on the international aid agenda?

Historically, high-income countries have intervened in lower-income countries in a wide variety of ways, from foreign aid and disaster relief, to military support for a preferred government. Melissa Dell, Samuel Moyn, Rohini Pande, and Rory Stewart discussed whether these acts can be justified, and lessons for today's aid agencies.

Green pathways out of poverty? The conflicts and synergies between poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation

Faced with the climate crisis, do we need to redefine development? Julie Livingston, Sunil Amrith, Rohini Pande, and Rory Stewart discussed two often conflicting goals: environmental protection and poverty reduction.

Equitable Vaccine Distribution: Insights on Covid-19 from past public health emergencies

How can we roll out of vaccines equitably – both across and within countries – to contain the Covid-19 pandemic? Caitjan Gainty, Saad B. Omer, and Rory Stewart discussed the challenges involved in global coverage and achieving acceptance of the new vaccines.

Migration in crisis: Insights on Covid-19 from past pandemics

Across South Asia, migrant workers have been among those most affected by the pandemic. This has happened before. Sunil Amrith, Charity Troyer Moore, Kavita Sivaramakrishnan, and Rory Stewart discussed the effects of pandemics – past and present – on migrant populations in South Asia.

Aid, Power, and Plague: Lessons from history and practice on foreign aid responses

A close look at the history of official development assistance to South Asian countries over the last century shows that aid often had as much to do with the political aims of the donor countries as the development goals of the recipients. David Engerman, Rohini Pande, and Rory Stewart discussed aid through history and in the time of Covid-19 and climate change.