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Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics 2018: Political Incentives and Development Outcomes

June 25-26, 2018

Washington, DC

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  • The Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE), organized by the World Bank Development Economics (DEC) Vice Presidency, is one of the world's best known series of conferences for the presentation and discussion of new knowledge on development. The conference aims to promote the exchange of cutting-edge research among researchers, policymakers, and development practitioners. The next conference will take place on June 25-26, 2018 at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. The theme of the conference will be "Political Incentives and Development Outcomes."

  • Daron Acemoglu

    Daron Acemoglu

    MIT Economics

    Daron Acemoglu is the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His areas of research include political economy, economic development, human capital theory, growth theory, innovation, search theory, network economics and learning. In addition to many scholarly articles, Daron Acemoglu has published four books including Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty (with James A. Robinson), which was a New York Times bestseller in 2012. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the inaugural T. W. Shultz Prize from the University of Chicago in 2004, the inaugural Sherwin Rosen Award for outstanding contribution to labor economics in 2004, the Distinguished Science Award from the Turkish Sciences Association in 2006, and the John von Neumann Award, Rajk College, Budapest in 2007. He was the recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal in 2005, awarded every two years to the best economist in the United States under the age of 40 by the American Economic Association, and the Erwin Plein Nemmers prize awarded every two years for work of lasting significance in economics. He received a BA in economics from the University of York in 1989, a M.Sc. in mathematical economics and econometrics from the London School of Economics in 1990, and a Ph.D. in economics from the London School of Economics in 1992.

    Luigi Zingales

    Luigi Zingales

    The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

    Luigi Zingales is the Robert C. McCormack Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1992. His research interests span from corporate governance to financial development, from political economy to the economic effects of culture. Zingales is a contributing editor of City Journal and Project Syndicate and writes regularly on Il Sole 24 Ore (the most important economic newspaper in Italy) and L'Espresso (an Italian weekly magazine). He is currently a faculty research fellow for the National Bureau of Economic Research, a research fellow for the Center for Economic Policy Research, and a fellow of the European Governance Institute. In 2003 he won the Bernacer Prize for the best European young financial economist. In 2005-06 he held the prestigious Taussig Research Professorship at Harvard University. He has published extensively in the major economics and financial journals. Zingales received a bachelor's degree in economics from Universita Bocconi in Italy in 1987 and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992.

    Kaushik Basu

    Kaushik Basu

    Cornell University

    Kaushik Basu is Professor of Economics and the C. Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University and former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank (2012 –16). Prior to joining the World Bank, he served as Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India. Basu is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and received one of the highest civilian awards given by the President of India, the Padma Bhushan. His contributions span development economics, welfare economics, industrial organization and game theory. In addition to Cornell, he has taught at the Delhi School of Economics, Harvard, Princeton, and MIT. He has published widely in academic journals, and has contributed articles to many widely read magazines and newspapers. He has written several books including ‘Beyond the Invisible Hand: Groundwork for a New Economics’ and ‘An Economist in the Real World: The Art of Policymaking in India’. Basu holds a PhD in economics from the London School of Economics. He has received honorary doctorates from several institutes, including IIT, Mumbai, and Fordham University, New York.


    François Bourguignon

    Paris School of Economics

    François Bourguignon is Emeritus Professor of economics at the Paris School of Economics. He was the Director of the Paris School from 2007 to 2013. Before that he was the Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank. He spent the rest of his career as a Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He is a specialist in public economic policy, income distribution and inequality, and economic development and has authored a large number of academic papers and books. Bourguignon was the founder and first Director of Delta, Joint Research Unit Cnrs, Ehess et Ens (1988). He is a Statistician from École nationale de la statistique et de l’administration économique and holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Western Ontario. Bourguignon also has a DEA Mathématiques appliquées, Université Paris and a Doctorat d’Etat en économie, Université d’Orléans. He has received several awards and merits for his works.


    Shanta Devarajan

    World Bank Group

    Shanta Devarajan is the Senior Director for Development Economics (DEC) and Acting Chief Economist of the World Bank Group. Previously, he was the Chief Economist of the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Region. Since joining the World Bank in 1991, he has been a Principal Economist and Research Manager for Public Economics in the Development Research Group, and the Chief Economist of the Human Development Network, the South Asia Region and Africa Region. He was a director of the World Development Report 2004, Making Services Work for Poor People. Before 1991, he was on the faculty of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. A member of the Overseas Development Institute’s Board of Trustees, and the author or co-author of more than 100 publications, Devarajan’s research covers public economics, trade policy, natural resources and the environment, and general equilibrium modeling of developing countries. Born in Sri Lanka, Devarajan received his BA in mathematics from Princeton University and his PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

    Ann Krueger

    Anne Krueger

    Johns Hopkins University

    Anne Krueger is the Senior Research Professor of International Economics at the School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. She is also a Senior Fellow of Center for International Development (of which she was the founding Director) and the Herald L. and Caroline Ritch Emeritus Professor of Sciences and Humanities in the Economics Department at Stanford University. Krueger was First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2006. Prior to that, she had taught at Stanford and Duke Universities. From 1982 to 1986, she was Vice President for Economics and Research at the World Bank. She had earlier been Professor of Economics at the University of Minnesota. Krueger is a Distinguished Fellow and past President of the American Economic Association, a Senior Research Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Econometric Society, and the American Philosophical Society. She has published extensively on economic development, international trade and finance and economic policy reform. In addition to her writings on these topics, she has written a number of books and articles on India, South Korea, and Turkey within her areas of expertise. She holds a BA from Oberlin College and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.


    Monday, June 25, 2018

     Preston Auditorium
    08:00–09:00Registration and Breakfast
    09:00–09:15Opening Address
    Shanta Devarajan (Acting WBG Chief Economist and Senior Director Development Economics, World Bank)

    Keynote Address 1: “Political Obstacles to Development”

    Chair: Asli Demirgüc-Kunt (Director, Development Research Group, World Bank)

    Speaker: Luigi Zingales (University of Chicago, United States)


    Sessions 1A-1C


    Session 1A Rulers and Economic Outcomes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly | Room MC 8-100

    Chair: Claudia Sepulveda (World Bank)


    “How Much Should We Trust the Dictator's GDP Estimates?”
    Luis Martinez (University of Chicago, United States)

    Paper | Presentation


    “Shrinking Dictators: How much Economic Growth Can We Attribute to National Leaders?”
    William Easterly (New York University, United States) and Steven Pennings (World Bank)

    Paper | Presentation


    “Parachuters vs. Climbers: Economic Consequences of Barriers to Political Entry in a Democracy”
    Aaditya Dar (George Washington University, United States)

    Paper | Presentation

    Discussant: Luis-Felipe Lopez Calva (World Bank)


    Session 1B Elections: Social Networks, Competition, and Affirmative Action | Room MC 9-100

    Chair:  Steve Knack (World Bank)


    “Electoral Competition and Corruption: Theory and Evidence from India”
    Farzana Afridi (Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi, India), Amrita Dhillon (King’s College London, United Kingdom) and Eilon Solan (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

    Paper | Presentation


    “Efficiency Consequences of Affirmative Action in Politics: Evidence from India”
    Sabyasachi Das (Ashoka University, India), Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay (Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi, India), and Rajas Saroy (Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi, India)

    Paper | Presentation


    “Social Fragmentation, Electoral Competition and Public Goods Provision”
    Cesi Cruz (University of British Columbia, Canada), Julien Labonne (University of Oxford, United Kingdom), and Pablo Querubin (New York University, United States)

    Paper | Presentation


    “Personnel Politics: Elections, Clientelistic Competition, and Teacher Hiring in Indonesia”
    Jan H. Pierskalla (Ohio State University, United States) and Audrey Sacks (World Bank)

    Paper | Presentation

    Discussant: Stuti Khemani (World Bank)



    Session 1C To Cooperate or Not To Cooperate: Politics, Ethnicity, and Natural Resources | Room MC 10-100

    Chair: Shekhar Shah (National Council of Applied Economic Research, NCAER, India)


    “Political Distortions and Infrastructure Networks in China: A Quantitative Spatial Equilibrium Analysis”
    Simon Alder (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, United States) and Illenin Kondo (University of Notre Dame, United States)

    Paper | Presentation


    Public Goods and Ethnic Diversity: Evidence from Deforestation in Indonesia”
    Alberto Alesina (Harvard University, United States), Caterina Gennaioli (Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom), and Stefania Lovo (University of Reading, United Kingdom)

    Paper | Presentation


    “The Buck Stops Where? Federalism, Uncertainty, and Investment in the Brazilian Water and Sanitation Sector”
    Evan Plous Kresch (Oberlin College, United States)

    Paper | Presentation


    “Governing the Commons? Water and Power in Pakistan's Indus Basin”
    Hanan G. Jacoby (World Bank) and Ghazala Mansuri (World Bank)

    Paper | Presentation

    Discussant: Yue Li (World Bank)


    12:30–14:00Lunch | James D. Wolfensohn Atrium

    Preston Auditorium

    Keynote Address 2: “The Narrow Corridor to Liberty: The Red Queen and the Struggle of State Versus Society" 


    Chair: Deborah Wetzel (Senior Director, Governance Global Practice, World Bank)   

    Speaker: Daron Acemoglu (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States)


    Sessions 2A-2C


    Session 2A Cutting Red Tape: Bureaucratic Efficiency, Productivity, and Performance| MC 8-100

    Chair: Verena Fritz (World Bank)


    “The Countervailing Effects of Competition on Public Goods Provision: When Bargaining Inefficiencies Lead to Bad Outcomes”
    Jessica Gottlieb (Texas A&M University, United States) and Katrina Kosec (International Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI)

    Paper | Presentation


    “Having it at Hand: How Small Search Frictions Impact Bureaucratic Efficiency”
    Eric Dodge (Harvard University, United States), Yusuf Neggers (Brown University, United States), Rohini Pande (Harvard University, United States) and Charity Troyer Moore (Harvard University, United States)

    Paper | Presentation


    “Social Proximity and Bureaucrat Performance: Evidence from India”
    Guo Xu (University of California, Berkeley, United States), Marianne Bertrand (University of Chicago, United States), and Robin Burgess (London School of Economics, United Kingdom)

    Paper | Presentation


    Political Selection and Bureaucratic Productivity”
    James Habyarimana (Georgetown University, United States), Stuti Khemani (World Bank), and Thiago Scot (University of California, Berkeley, United States)

    Paper | Presentation

    Discussant: Daniel Rogger (World Bank)


    Session 2B Other People’s Money: Windfalls, Public Funds, and Inequality | MC 9-100

    Chair: Tatiana Didier (World Bank)


    “Resource Windfalls and Public Employment: Evidence from Municipalities in Chile”
    Felipe Larraín (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile) and Oscar Perelló (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile)

    Paper | Presentation


    “Being a Good Samaritan or Just a Politician? Empirical Evidence of Disaster Assistance?”
    Jeroen Klomp (Wageningen University, The Netherlands)

    Paper | Presentation


    “Are Public Funds Used to Maintain Ruling Coalitions? Evidence from India”
    Ishita Rajani (Analysis Group, United States)

    Paper | Presentation


    “How Unequal Access to Public Goods Reinforces Horizontal Inequality in India”

    Asli Demirguc-Kunt (World Bank), Leora Klapper (World Bank), and Neeraj Prasad (Tufts University, United States and World Bank)

    Paper | Presentation

    Discussant: Maurizio Bussolo (World Bank)


    Session 2C Harbors and Havens: Customs, Taxation, Collusion, and Corruption | MC 10-100

    Chair: Mary Hallward-Driemeier (World Bank)


    “Technology, Taxation and Corruption: Evidence from the Introduction of Electronic Tax Filing”
    Oyebola Okunogbe (World Bank) and Victor Pouliquen (Paris School of Economics, France)

    Paper | Presentation


    “Collusion in Customs: Evidence from Madagascar”
    Cyril Chalendard (World Bank), Ana M. Fernandes (World Bank), Aaditya Mattoo (World Bank), Gael Raballand (World Bank), and Bob Rijkers (World Bank)

    Paper | Presentation


    “The Costs of Bureaucracy and Corruption at Customs: Evidence from the Computerization of Imports in Colombia”
    Rachid Laajaj 
    (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia), Marcela Eslava (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia), and Tidiane Kinda (International Monetary Fund)

    Paper | Presentation

    Discussant: Daniel Lederman (World Bank)

    Tuesday, June 26, 2018

     Preston Auditorium
    08:00–10:00Registration and Breakfast

    Sessions 3A-3C


    Session 3A Money, Money, Money: Finance, Banks, and Politics | MC 8-100

    Chair: Claudia Ruiz (World Bank)


    “Financial Disclosure and Political Selection: Evidence from India”
    Raymond Fisman (Boston University, United States), Florian Schulz (University of Washington, United States), and Vikrant Vig (London Business School, United Kingdom)

    Paper | Presentation


    “Anti Corruption and Bank Lending”
    Cheng Sun (Peking University, China), Jiangmin Xu (Peking University, China), and Yinuo Zhang (Princeton University, United States)

    Paper | Presentation


    “Targeting Credit through Community Members”
    Diego Vera-Cossio (University of California, San Diego, United States)

    Paper | Presentation


    “The Power of Money. The Consequences of Electing a Donor Funded Politician”
    Nelson Ruiz (London School of Economics, United Kingdom)

    Paper | Presentaion

    Discussant: Tito Cordella (World Bank)



    Session 3B The Insiders: Dynasties and Clientelism | MC 9-100

    Chair: David Rosenblatt (World Bank)


    “Rethinking the Political Economy of Decentralization: How Elections and Parties Shape the Provision of Local Public Goods”
    Raúl A. Ponce-Rodríguez (Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, Mexico), Charles R. Hankla (Georgia State University, United States), Jorge Martinez-Vazquez (Georgia State University, United States), and Eunice Heredia-Ortiz (Development Alternatives Inc., DAI)

    Paper | Presentation


    “Do Ghosts Exist? Clientelistic Networks and Corruption in Public Education”
    Leopoldo Fergusson (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia), Arturo Harker (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia), and Carlos Molina (University of Chicago, United States)

    Paper | Presentation


    “How Do Political Dynasties Affect Economic Development? Evidence from India”
    Siddharth Eapen George (Harvard University, United States) and Dominic Ponattu (University of Mannheim, Germany)

    Paper | Presentation

    Discussant: Jishnu Das (World Bank)


    Session 3C Rules of the Game: Cronyism and Regulation | MC 10-100

    Chair: Jorge Rodriguez Meza (World Bank)


    “The Politics of Partial Liberalization: Cronyism and Non-Tariff Protection in Mubarak's Egypt”
    Ferdinand Eibl (King’s College, United Kingdom) and Adeel Malik (Oxford University, United Kingdom)

    Paper | Appendix | Presentation


    “Does Cronyism Curtail Competition? Evidence from Indonesia”
    Anna Kochanova (Max Planck Institute on Research for Collective Goods, Germany), Bob Rijkers (World Bank), and Mary Hallward-Driemeier (World Bank)

    Paper | Presentation


    “Environmental Regulation and Firm Productivity in China: Estimates from a Regression Discontinuity Design”
    Guojun He (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong), Shaoda Wang (University of California, Berkeley, United States), and Bing Zhang (Nanjing University; China)


    Discussant: Joana Silva (World Bank)

    12:00–12:30Light Lunch | James D. Wolfensohn Atrium

    Politics and Development: What Have We Learned and What Do we Need to Know?  


    Kaushik Basu (Professor of Economics and the C. Marks Professor of International Studies, Cornell University and former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, World Bank).

    Francois Bourguignon (Professor of Economics, Paris School of Economics and former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, World Bank)

    Shanta Devarajan (Acting WBG Chief Economist and Senior Director Development Economics, World Bank)

    Anne Krueger (Senior Research Professor of International Economics, Johns Hopkins University and former Vice President, Economics and Research, World Bank)

    Chair: Philip Keefer (Inter-American Development Bank)


    Preston Auditorium
    World Bank Headquarters | Main Complex
    1818 H Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20433


    Registration will open at 8 a.m. on Monday, June 25, 2018.

    For security reasons, all visitors to the World Bank are required to pass through a metal detector and all visitors’ bags are X-rayed.

    On arrival at the World Bank, please enter through the main entrance of the Main Complex (1818 H Street, NW). There will be a security guard and signage to guide you. As you pass through security, you will be directed to the ABCDE registration tables (after the metal detectors). Here you will register and pick up your World Bank visitor’s pass (which will grant you access to World Bank buildings until 6 p.m. on June 26), as well as a conference badge and materials.

    For non-Bank/IMF staff, visitor’s passes are mandatory.

Conference Details