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Center for Policy Studies
Public Affairs Discussion Group

Encouraging Savings by the Poor in Developing Countries

Silvia Prina, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Economics at Case Western Reserve University
Friday January 30, 2015
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dampeer Room
Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

Since the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2006, many people who are not development economists have known that the provision of banking and credit services for poor people in the developing world could be important.

But the story of Grameen's microcredit is just one side of the story - the borrowing, but not the saving. In the uncertainty of poverty in poor countries, saving is not easy. Your "account" could be a goat, and the goat could die, or be stolen. So part of the challenge of development is how to enable people to save.

It's not easy because banking systems in poor countries tend to be poorly developed, inconvenient, not necessarily reliable and also unfamiliar. So what must be done to make saving more possible for their populations, and what would be the effects of helping people save? Associate Professor of Economics Silvia Prina recently conducted a field experiment in Nepal to investigate those questions. Join us to learn about path-breaking research and discuss the broader challenges of economic development.

All best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guest

Silvia Prina received her Ph.D. in economics from Boston University in 2007. Her research ranges across development economics and applied microeconomics, with a special focus on access to savings accounts and investment in education and health. Her works feature rigorous empirical methods and the implementation of unique, randomized interventions to answer questions of central importance in development economics.

She has been and is working on several field experiments in Nepal, Mexico, Tanzania, and the U.S. In Nepal, her research shows that access to a formal savings account enables poor households to save, accumulate assets, and invest in health and human capital. Work in progress is looking at the effects of financial access on time preferences and on the network of financial transactions. In Mexico, a country with one of the highest obesity rates in the world, Prina’s research shows that health report cards improve parents’ knowledge about their children’s health status. In Tanzania, she is analyzing the effects of providing mobile savings accounts on those individuals who do not adopt the account. Finally, in the U.S. she is studying the importance of peer effects in eating choices among schoolchildren.

Additionally, Dr. Prina is interested in how aspirations of the poor can be shaped and in their role in educational attainment. In one of her papers she shows that exposure to educated professionals increases the educational aspirations parents have towards their children. Her latest efforts focus on the impact of financial access on aspirations and investment in education.

Dr. Prina has also examined the impact of fertility choices on income inequality and long-run mobility. She has also studied the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on agricultural trade between Mexico and the U.S. as well as on the distribution of Mexican farm incomes during the 1990s.

Where We Meet

The Friday Public Affairs Lunch convenes each Friday when classes are in session, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. We usually meet in the Dampeer Room of Kelvin Smith Library. The Dampeer Room is on the second floor of the library. If you get off the elevators, turn right, pass the first bank of tables, and turn right again. Occasionally we need to use a different room; that will always be announced in the weekly e-mails.

Parking Possibilities

The most convenient parking is the lot underneath Severance Hall. We regret that it is not free. From that lot there is an elevator up to street level (labeled as for the Thwing Center); it is less than 50 yards from that exit to the library entrance. You can get from the Severance garage to the library without going outside. Near the entry gates - just to the right if you were driving out - there is a door into a corridor. Walk down the corridor and there will be another door. Beyond that door you'll find the entrance to an elevator which goes up to an entrance right inside the doors to Kelvin Smith Library.

Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

February 6: What I Learned About American Electoral Politics: Memoirs (in brief) of a 2014 Congressional Candidate. With Michael Wager, Taft Stettinius and Hollister LLP.

February 13: Is It Time for a New U.S. Grand Strategy? With Patrick Doherty, Co-Director of the Strategic Innovation Lab, Weatherhead School of Management.

February 20: The Warren Commission and the Academy: Exploring Truth in a Political World. With Judge (ret.) Burt W. Griffin.

February 27: TBD

March 6: What Explains the Price of Gasoline? With Steven W. Percy, former Chairman and CEO, BP of America.

March 13: Spring Break

March 20: TBD

March 27: Talking Turkey: Some Personal (and Historical) Perspectives on Turkish Politics and Society. With John Grabowski, Krieger-Mueller Associate Professor in Applied History; Senior Vice President for Research and Publications, Western Reserve Historical Society.

April 3: Origins and Prospects of the 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. With Karl C. Kaltenthaler, Professor of Political Science, University of Akron.

April 10:
Obama's White House and Management Style: A Recipe for Success or Failure? With David B. Cohen, Professor of Political Science, University of Akron.

April 17: TBD

April 24: TBD
January 26, 2015

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Upcoming Events

Hydraulic Fracturing: the Changing Landscape of Energy and Technology

Dean N. Malouta, CPG, a nationally recognized expert in conventional and unconventional oil and gas exploration, and alternative and renewable energy, Thursday January 29, 2015, 3:00-4:00 p.m., Nord Hall, Room 356, Case Western Reserve University, 2095 Martin Luther King Jr Drive, Cleveland, OH 44106. Sponsored by the Great Lakes Energy Institute.

Since the dawn of the new millennium, the energy industry has increased its attention on unconventional tight gas, shale gas and shale oil reserves. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) indicates US gas reserves have nearly doubled to about 354 TCF in 2013. Reserves for the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale are estimated to be a combined 122TCF. The boom in tight gas and shale gas production became possible due to advances in technologies such as reliable horizontal drilling and multi-stage fracturing in horizontal wells as well as in more sophisticated geological and geophysical detection methods to detect and integrate stress and fracture directions. The talk will include some general awareness of hydraulic fracture procedures and techniques.

Anonymity and Technology

A discussion with federal judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Thursday, February 5, 2015, 4:30-5:35 p.m., Moot Courtroom (A59), Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 11075 East Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44106-7148. Sponsored by the Spangenberg Center for Law, Technology & the Arts

Evolving technology has stimulated two divergent trends: We conduct so many of our economic and social interactions behind the pane of a computer screen that our lives feel more anonymous than ever before; yet reliance on technology also means that our daily routines are increasingly monitored, chronicled and analyzed by an endless array of prying eyes, not least of which those of the federal government. We all think anonymity is great for us, but we’re not so sure we trust other people with it. This lecture discusses these paradoxical trends inherent in technological evolution, and assesses how we can sculpt laws and policies that take into account both the good and the bad aspects of anonymity.

Judge Alex Kozinski is a prolific writer on a wide range of issues. His work has appeared in several prominent law journals as well as in the New York Times and Slate. Judge Kozinski's influence as a Circuit Judge has been particularly pronounced in the field of intellectual property law. Most recently, he wrote the majority opinion in Garcia v. Google, rejecting Google's argument that it has a First Amendment right to continue hosting the controversial clip Innocence of Muslims on the basis that it allegedly infringes actress Lee Garcia's copyright.

January 2015







































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