What’s the Latest Research in Development Economics? A Roundup from NEUDC 2022
What’s the latest in international economic development research? Last weekend was the North East Universities Development Consortium annual conference, often called NEUDC. With more than 135 papers presented (and almost all of them available for download), it’s a great way to see recent trends in the international development research by economists and to learn about new findings.
The studies come from all over the world, as you can see in Figure 1 below. Just like last year, the plurality of studies take place in India (30 studies). Kenya is next (12), then Bangladesh (8), Brazil (7), China (7), and Indonesia (7). More than 40 countries are represented overall, from almost all regions of the world.
Figure 1: Where are recent development economics studies focused?
Researchers draw on a wide range of empirical methods. Nearly a third of studies reported on the results of a randomized controlled trial (43 studies). Other commonly used methods include difference-in-differences, fixed effects, and instrumental variables.
Figure 2: What empirical methods do recent development economics papers used?
Below, we provide a quick takeaway from every paper in the conference for which we could find a digital copy. As you read our takeaways, keep the following in mind. First, we can’t capture all the nuance of a paper in a couple of lines. Second, our takeaway may not be the authors’ takeaway. Third, some of the papers are marked as preliminary and not ready for formal citation (you can see which if you follow the paper links). Fourth, we largely take the findings of these papers at face value: most have not yet been through peer review, so feel free to dig into the data and analysis to decide how confident you are in the results.
Our takeways are sorted by topic. If your principal interest is in a country or region, you can also read the takeaways sorted by country. We provide some indication of the empirical method used (for empirical papers) with hashtags at the end of the takeaways. Some papers fit into more than one category: for example, is a paper about the impact of free childcare on mothers’ careers about labor or about gender? It’s about both! In those cases, we’ve repeated studies in multiple sections below so if you’re focused on health, you’ll find all the health-related papers in the health section. The second or third time a paper appears, we put an asterisk after the summary so you can skip it if you’re reading straight through.
Guide to the methodological hashtags:
#DID = Difference-in-differences, #FE = Fixed effects, #IV = Instrumental variables, #LIF = Lab in the field, #PSM = Propensity score matching, #RCT = Randomized controlled trial, #RD = Regression discontinuity, #Other = Other