On 8 - 9 July 2015 the Center for the Evaluation of Development Policies (EDePo), a research center at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), conducted its first summer conference, 'Improving productivity in developing countries: identifying bottlenecks and obstacles to productive investments and technology adoption'.
The conference, which also marked the end of a three-year DEGRP grant, attracted researchers from around the world, and distinguished keynote speakers including, Pascaline Dupas (Stanford University), Eliana La Ferrara (Bocconi University), Imran Rasul (University College, London and IFS), Stefan Dercon (DFID), and Mark Rosenzweig (Yale University).
Work presented addressed four core constraints to productivity: informational resources available to individuals, market failures, operational resources and social norms. Sessions covered the latest research and insights around health promotion, gender, credit and insurance, land and labour productivity, expectations and uncertainty, as well as networks and technology adoption and taxes and public finances.
The conference was linked to DEGRP research project, 'Improving productivity in developing countries', led by Professor Orazio Attanasio, from IFS. The project, covering parts of Africa, India, and Pakistan, focused on the design of policies aimed at improving productivity. The research identifyed issues that prevent the adoption of profitable technology and innovations, which may impede investment opportunities with a potentially high rate of return.
A selection of papers presented at the conference will be published in a special issue of the Economic Journal.