Write a 3-5 page paper building on one of the topics discussed in modules on price effects, nutrition and the labor market, and education.Below are recommended topics. If you wish to write on another topic in this area please have it approved in advance. A typical paper should synthesize material from 2-3 academic papers, at least one of which is not on the reading list. You are encouraged to take an editorial stance in your review--e.g, to assess the credibility of different arguments. Please submit online through canvas. Papers (but not grades or evaluations) will be available to other class members.
1. Levels of nutrition in rural India have not improved nearly as quickly as rural wages. Using
as an entry point in the literature discuss possible explanations.
2. There is an extremely actives debate in India right now about the role of the public distribution system, a massive government program to make food available to poor households at subsidized rates through ration shops. Discuss the advantages of this approach relative to, say, a cash transfer program to the poor. To see a summary of one side of the debate read
3. One argument for government investment in education is the role of education in increasing the supply or teachers. Use
as an entry into the literature and evaluate the credibility of that argument.
4. The inability of illiterate parents to effectively evaluate school quality has lead to the use of "school report cards" as a mechanism to improve the quality and quantity of education in some countries. Evaluate this idea using
as an entry point into the literature..
5. It has been argued that parental time is an important input into child health and that as a resulting rising wages may not necessarily lead to better child outcomes. Discuss this point using
as an entry point.
6. A key policy question is whether early nutritional supplementation can have long term impacts on economic productivity. Given the long time-lags involved this is a difficult subject to study. Some of the most complete evidence comes from the follow-up of a nutritional supplementation program in Guatemala in the early 1970s. Read and critique
which discusses some of the key results from this study.
7. Sen's classic book Poverty and Famines discusses a number of different famines and uses this as a basis to argue for an entitlements based approach. Read the discussion of one or more of these famines. If you could go back in time and do a short study during those surveys what questions would you ask and how would these shed light on the entitlements argument.
8. A central argument in Banerjee and Duflo is that the relative lack of health of the poor may have less to do with low incomes or lack of understanding at the level of the household and more to do with the fact that the public infrastructure in high income countries ensures that we can take for granted that our food and water are safe. Evaluate this argument in the light of
which focuses on the US historical experience with public health.
9. A recent paper looks at the relative effects of a supply and demand program to increase girls education in Bangladesh: Does Demand or Supply Constrain Investments in Education? Evidence from Garment Sector Jobs in Bangladesh. Evaluate this paper in the light of other work on supply and demand for schooling.