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Microdevelopment research in the last 20 years: what have we learned?

Nobel Symposium

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The 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel rewarded the experimental approach to alleviating global poverty. This approach took roots in development economics in the early 2000s and has completely transformed research – in development and beyond. Today development economics is a vibrant field. Experiments and quasi-experiments are combined with an arsenal of other tools to, for example, structurally estimate theoretical models of underdevelopment, to test psychological explanations for poverty, to estimate general-equilibrium effects of anti-poverty policies, to uncover such elusive parameters as the degree of market competition, and to harness the power of big data.

The Nobel Symposium (NS192) on Microdevelopment research in the last 20 years from 12 – 14 March 2024 will be the third symposium in the Nobel in Africa series at STIAS. The invitation-only Economics symposium will gather around 40 of the world’s leading scientists, together with selected observers for three days, with lectures, discussions, and an outreach programme during the day before (11 March) and after the meeting (15 March). The goal of this Nobel Symposium is to discuss the insights from the more recent research, with a strong focus on areas paramount for poverty alleviation and economic development in low-income countries. It will bring together leading researchers in poverty alleviation, health, productivity in agriculture and manufacturing, education, finance, trade, climate, gender, governance, and the latest methodological advances in development economics. The symposium will take stock of the existing knowledge, but also of what we do not know and the most pressing challenges ahead. Our hope is that the Nobel Symposium will provide an impetus to important new research on the economic lives of the world’s poorest.

Convenors: Jakob Svensson, Stockholm University and Rulof Burger, Stellenbosch University

Download the programme here.

NS192 Session presentations:
Opening session – Poverty alleviation and social projection: Oriana Bandiera & Christopher Udry
Session 2- Health: Kelsey Jack & Martina Björkman Nyqvist
Session 3 – Gender:  Eliana LaFerrara & Nava Ashraf
Session 4 – Climate: Seema Jayachandran & Ted Miguel
Session 5- Finance: Emily Breza, Lorenzo Casaburi & Dean Karlan
Session 6 – Firms: Eric Verhoogen, Chris Woodruff & Jonas Hjort
Session 7 – Trade: Dave Donaldson, Paula Bustos & Amit Khandelwal
Policy panel: Stefan Dercon & Nomvuyo Guma
Session 8 – Agriculture: Tavneet Suri, Karen Macours  & Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse
Session 9 – Education: Isaac Mbiti, Esther Duflo & Germano Mwabu
Session 10 – Labour and Migration: Supreet Kaur, Girum Abebe & Mushfiq Mobarak
Session 11 – Governance: Leonard Wantchekon & Claudio Ferraz

Click here to watch the recordings of all the sessions.

Nobel in Africa is a STIAS Initiative in partnership with Stellenbosch University, under the auspices of the Nobel Foundation and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences with funding from the Knut & Alice Wallenberg Foundation.


Date and time

Monday, 11 March 2024 —
Friday, 15 March 2024

All Day​

All times are in SAST (UTC+2)


STIAS Wallenberg Research Centre

STIAS, Marais Road, Mostertsdrift

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