SDG 1

The decline of global extreme poverty continues, but has slowed. The deceleration indicates that the world is not on track to achieve the target of less than 3 per cent of the world living in extreme poverty by 2030. People who continue to live in extreme poverty face deep, entrenched deprivation often exacerbated by violent conflicts and vulnerability to disasters. Strong social protection systems and government spending on key services often help those left behind get back on their feet and escape poverty, but these services need to be brought to scale.

Recent research at the School of Global Policy and Strategy

Technological transformations open new opportunities and disrupt old patterns. Founded in 2006, Center on Global Transformation (CGT) provides a new framework for vanguard exploration of topics critical to analyzing and shaping the forces of economic change in a deeply interconnected, thoroughly dynamic world. CGT and its Pacific Leadership Fellows program focus on academic inquiry and policy analysis of international issues. CGT’s core mission is to: Foster and disseminate research that addresses global economic and technology transformation Develop and maintain a network…
The Policy Design and Evaluation Lab (PDEL) is an international focal point for rigorous empirical research on the interplay of public policy, technology, and economic development. PDEL combines advanced social science methodology with the power of information technology to design policies and programs that alleviate poverty; promote health, welfare, and security; and enhance accountability. Why PDEL? UC San Diego and its scholars are at the leading edge of a movement to develop a new class of solutions to some of…
Today’s global food and land-use systems are not meeting the needs of food security, healthy diets, adequate incomes for farmers,  zero emissions, protection of biodiversity, chemical pollution and sustainable use of water resources. Countries need to understand how to fix their land-use and food systems while considering the impacts on other countries. Overview FABLE mobilizes scientific teams from countries around the world to inform their governments’ policy choices on land use. The consortium pursues three objectives: Capacity development and…

RESEARCH

Craig McIntosh

This study presents the results of an experiment introducing commercial rainfall index insurance into drought-prone farming cooperatives in Amhara Region, Ethiopia. We provided a market-priced rainfall deficit insurance product through producer cooperatives, and test a number of potential ways to kick-start private demand. Take-up of the insurance at market prices is very low, between 0.5% and 3% across seasons. When we use a randomized experiment to distribute small free insurance contracts to farmers, 39% of subsidized individuals enroll but this fails to stimulate input use, yields, or income, and nor does it enhance demand in subsequent seasons. A training and promotion on the product improves uptake and willingness to pay, but also does not improve farming outcomes.

RESEARCH

Craig McIntosh

We play a series of incentivised laboratory games with risk-exposed co-operativised Guatemalan coffee farmers to understand the demand for index-based rainfall insurance. We estimate an explicit utility curve for every player and hence predict expected utility demand under counterfactual scenarios. Using these estimates, we provide a precise money-metric decomposition of the extent to which the low observed demand for index insurance is driven by expected utility theory, or by behavioural issues arising from a prospect-style utility structure. Our results suggest that consumers value probabilistic insurance using a prospect-style utility function that is concave both in probabilities and in income.

RESEARCH

Craig McIntosh

This study was designed to ‘benchmark’ a major USAID-funded child malnutrition program against what would have occurred if the cost of the program had simply been disbursed directly to people to spend as they see fit. The results indicate that programs targeted towards driving specific outcomes can do so at a lower cost than cash, but large cash transfers drive substantial benefits across a wide range of impacts, including many of those targeted by the more tailored program.

2018

RESEARCH

Gordon McCord

This paper estimates the role of agronomic inputs in cereal yield improvements and the consequences for countries’ processes of structural change. It is estimated that a half-ton increase in staple yields generates a 14 to 19 percent higher GDP per capita. Five years after the increase in staple yields, there is an estimated 4.6 to 5.6 percentage point lower labor share in agriculture.