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Poverty, State Capacity, and State Accountability

April 24, 2018

Washington, DC

  • Rohini-Pande.jpg
    Rohini Pande is the Rafik Hariri Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard Kennedy School. She co-directs the Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) Initiative. Her work has examined how institutions—ranging from electoral to financial—can be designed to empower historically disadvantaged groups; how low-cost improvements in information collection and dissemination can enable flexible regulation and more efficient outcomes in areas as diverse as environmental protection and elections; and how biased social norms, unless challenged by public policy, can worsen individual well-being and reduce economic efficiency.

    At Harvard Kennedy School, Pande is also the Area Chair for International Development and teaches in the MPA/ID program. Her other current affiliations include Executive Committee member of the Bureau of Research on Economic Development (BREAD), co-chair of the Political Economy and Government Group at Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), board member at Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR), and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Her publications have appeared in the top economics and policy journals.

  • The share of the global population living in extreme poverty has dropped 34 percentage points since 1981. But rising inequality and a reduction in job growth may stymie future reductions in poverty: today, the majority of the world’s poor live in highly unequal middle-income countries. I argue that ending extreme poverty requires ensuring that the poor have access to “invisible infrastructure”, which I define as the set of institutional structures that provide economic opportunity to all—and that an effective domestic state remains central to the creation of these structures. This talk explores how building such an effective state will require both improving implementation of components of the invisible infrastructure and giving the poor the democratic influence to demand the reforms they need, by solving agency problems between citizens, politicians, and bureaucrats.

  • The Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC) launched its lecture series in April 2005 to bring distinguished academics to the Bank to present and discuss new knowledge on development. The purpose of the Lecture Series is to introduce ideas on cutting edge research, challenge and contribute to the Bank's intellectual climate, and reexamine current development theories and practices. The Lectures revisit issues of long-standing concern and explore emerging issues that promise to be central to future development discourse. The Lecture Series reflects DEC’s commitment to intellectual leadership and openness in embracing future challenges to reduce poverty.

    The DEC Lecture Series is chaired by Shanta Devarajan, Acting WBG Chief Economist and Senior Director, Development Economics, and includes a presentation and floor discussion.

    Please visit DEC Lecture Series to access additional information about this event series as well as presentation materials from past talks.

Lecture Details

  • Date: April 24, 2018
  • Time: 12:30 – 2:00 PM
  • Venue: MC 13-121
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