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LAHORE: The Centre for Research in Economics and Business (CREB) at the Lahore School of Economics, in partnership with International Growth Centre (IGC) and Consortium for Development Policy Research (CDPR) launched a virtual Applied Development Economics (ADE) Seminar Series recently.

The main objective of the online seminar series is to keep the spirit of the University's annual ADE conference alive by allowing researchers in the field of development economics, to present their work and to increase the visibility of research being conducted in Pakistan. The virtual seminar is held weekly via Zoom on Tuesdays, at 4 00 pm PKT (11 00 am GMT) and will continue till the end of September. The inaugural session of the virtual ADE Seminar Series was given by distinguished Professor, Dr. Imran Rasul (University College London and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, UK) on the importance of measurement, accumulation and allocation of human capital among the world's poor. He presented results from several policy interventions around the developing world to illustrate the importance of human capital.

An information (in the form of antenatal, peri-natal and post-natal messages, to mothers and fathers) and an unconditional cash injection (US$20/month from pregnancy till the child is aged 24 months) in poor Nigerian households reduced stunting by 7% and the incidence of diarrhoea by 25%. In addition, it increased the uptake of deworming medication by 74% and complete vaccinations by 350%. These effects are not only large but also persistent - showing up four years after the intervention was first rolled out. Next on, he presented results from a policy intervention in urban Uganda. The objective of the intervention was to study the causal impact on workers and firms of vocationally training workers before they enter the labour market (VT) and incentivizing firms to hire and train workers on-the-job (FT). The intervention led to a large increase in earnings; vocationally trained workers earnings increased by 34% while firm trained workers earnings increased by 24%. Last, he talked about a policy intervention in rural Bangladesh in which ultra-poor women were given livestock asset transfers and intensive livestock specific training lasting for 2 years. The intervention led to significant medium and long run. In the medium run, there was a substantial reduction in the proportion of women engaged in wage labour from around 28% at baseline to 5% and a simultaneous increase those engaged in self-employment from 30% at baseline to 50% four years later. In the long run, i.e. 11 years after the intervention, the share of stunted and malnourished children of beneficiary women falls by 6% and primary school completion rates of their children increase by 5%.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020