Lahore School of Economics

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Lahore School 5th International Conference on Applied Development Economics

23-25 August 2023

Centre for Research in Economics and Business (CREB) and the Innovation and Technology Centre (ITC) at Lahore School of Economics opened its 5th International Conference on Applied Development Economics (ADE), as an in-person event in Lahore in collaboration with the International Growth Center and Consortium for Development Policy Research. The conference is spread over three days from 23 – 25 August 2023 and includes presentations from international and local researchers working on issues related to economic development and sustainable growth in the developing world. It broadly focuses on the following thematic areas: Labour Markets, Industry and Trade, Political Economy and Institutions, Education and Health, and Climate Change with a crosscutting emphasis on gender. The aim of the conference is to (i) highlight recent research that can have lasting policy impact for sustainable growth in the developing world; (ii) provide early career researchers the opportunity to obtain feedback on their ongoing work; and (iii) to start a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas and discussions among researchers on potential collaborations. Dr. Shahid Chaudhry, rector of the Lahore School of Economics, in his inaugural remarks, talked about the peculiarity of Pakistan’s current situation in terms of losing macroeconomic sovereignty in order to induce the rollover of external debt. This debt is 85 billion dollars which is small compared to the size of Pakistan’s trillion-dollar economy (in Purchasing Power Parity terms). Lastly, Dr. Shahid thanked the international community gathered in the conference for helping the Lahore School of Economics push forward its vision of sustainable and equitable solutions to common challenges facing the world.


The first day of the conference opened with a plenary address by Dr. David K. Evans (Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School) on getting the best teachers and helping teachers be their best. Dr. Evans stated that teachers’ salary makes up 80% of public sector budgets in education and human capital development and improvement in the quality of teachers has more impact on students’ learning outcomes compared to school-based management, computer-assisted learning and community-based monitoring interventions. He also added that it is possible to improve the quality of these teachers dramatically through better preparation, selection, and motivation.


The plenary address was followed by a session on trade policy and skills, chaired by Dr. David K. Evans. The first speaker of the session Anri Sakakibara (DPhil candidate, Department of Political Economy, King’s College London) discussed how the disproportionate expansion of the female-intensive-wearing apparel sector can trigger the structural transformation of the female labor force in a way that promotes gender equality at the household level. She finds that women residing in provinces that are more exposed to the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) are more likely to work in the wearing apparel sector and increase their income relative to their husbands. The second paper by Dr. Hamna Ahmad (Assistant Professor, Lahore School of Economics; Research Fellow, Centre for Research in Economics and Business (CREB)) aimed at studying household decisions to invest in young women’s digital skills through a short-term online training program in urban Pakistan. While rejecting the unitary model of household decision-making between parents and young adult daughters in Pakistan, the authors find that inefficiencies in household negotiation on incentive payments come through information asymmetry and not through payment targeting.


The second session on economic behavior was chaired by Dr. Farah Said (Assistant Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences). The first speaker of the session Dr. Christian Johannes Meyer (Director, Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Development, University of Oxford) investigated the effectiveness of a psychological program designed to build “positive imagery” among a sample of Eritrean refugees in Addis Ababa. The authors' preliminary results indicate that the intervention led to significantly more optimistic views of economic lives in the host economy. In the short run, they find that treated participants work more hours, have higher food security, and report improved well-being. The most likely mechanism seems to be a change in expectations about the future. The second paper by Dr. Uzma Afzal ((Assistant Professor, Lahore University of Management and Sciences (LUMS); Associate Fellow, Institute of Development Alternatives (IDEAs), and Fellow (Center for Behavioral Institutional Design (CBID), NYUAD)) explored the systematic heterogeneity in cooperative decision-making across spouses in arranged and love matched marriages in Pakistan through a lab-in-the-field experiment. The authors find that in villages close to the city self-selected marriages are significantly more likely to be unconditionally cooperative and as the distance from the city increases, the love-matched effect declines.


The session after lunch was chaired by Dr. David K. Evans and it focused on the theme of poverty and social protection. The first speaker of the session Rocco Zizzamia (DPhil candidate at Oxford Department of International Development) presented her work on the role that coaching plays within ultra-poor graduation programs- specifically, how sensitive the welfare benefits of graduation interventions are to the intensity and the type of coaching inputs in Bangladesh. Timothy Köhler (Junior Research Fellow, Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU); DPhil Candidate, University of Cape Town (UCT)) closed the session with a talk on how a COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress grant (cash transfers) to the unemployed can support economic activity in South Africa. The authors find that the grant increased average employment probabilities by approximately 3 percentage points, an effect largely driven by wage and formal sector employment. Employment effects varied by duration of receipt, with larger effects estimated for the short-term which reduced to zero with additional periods of receipt.




Dr. Theresa Thompson Chaudhry (Professor, Lahore School of Economics; Research Affiliate, International Growth Centre; Co-Director; Lahore School of Economics Innovation and Technology Center) chaired the final session of the day on household behavior and also discussed the two papers. The first speaker of the session Muhammad Bin Khalid (Predoctoral Fellow, National University of Singapore) examined the effect of government support in the form of village-level cash transfers (Pakistan's flood relief program) on adaptation behaviors. He finds that while cash transfer recipients are 20 percent more likely to invest in personal adaptation, they are 22 percent less likely to work with other villagers to invest in community adaptation. The last paper of the session by Abdullah Mehta (Institute of Business Administration) examined the impact of female bargaining power on household expenditure patterns. He finds that using Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement data, in lower-income households, female bargaining power positively affects the expenditure shares of education and transport, and negatively affects those of tobacco, food, and health.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8/24/2023 08:41:00 AM,

Independence Day Celebrations - 2023

 

Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s 76th Independence Day was celebrated on 14 August 2023 in the Lahore School of Economics Main Campus with national fervor and zeal. The chief guest was Dr. Azam Chaudhry, the Pro-Rector Lahore School of Economics.


Senior Faculty, Administrative Staff, and Support Staff attended the celebrations. Children and families were also present in the festivities of the 76th Independence Day at the Lahore School.

Dr. Azam Chaudhry raised the national flag. Later, milli naghmey were sung by the students of the Lahore School Music Society. Addressing the enthralled audience, speakers highlighted the rich national history, and how the Lahore School plays an important role in the development of Pakistan. Lahore School commemorative mugs were also distributed among the audience. Other highlights of the day were thematic cake cutting, distribution of sweets, and collective lunch in the main cafeteria.


This Independence Day, the Lahore School of Economics tree plantation drive also kicked off. Dr. Azam Chaudhry, Dr. Ismat Baig, Prof Shumyla, and others planted saplings of decorative trees on the lawns of the Main Campus.


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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8/10/2023 12:33:00 PM,

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