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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 October 3, 2014
12:30-1:30 p.m.
***Alternative Venue: Mather House Room 100***
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

Mather House is located next to the Thwing student center two buildings to the right of Kelvin Smith Library on Euclid Avenue. Please enter the front door to Mather House and turn right. Mather House Room 100 is at the end of the hall.

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 Thwing Center.

October 10: The Effects of High-Stakes Testing on Students and Schools. With Dale Whittington Ph.D., Director of Research and Evaluation, Shaker Heights City School District.

October 17: "Obamacare" and The Free Clinic. With Danny Williams J.D., MNO, Executive Director, The Free Clinic of Greater Cleveland. ***Alternative Venue: Mather House Room 100***

October 24: An Update on the Search for an AIDS Vaccine. With Michael M. Lederman, Scott R. Inkley Professor of Medicine and Co-Director, CWRU/UHC Center for AIDS Research.

October 31: The Midterm Election. With Karen Beckwith, Flora Stone Mather Professor of Political Science, Justin Buchler, Associate Professor of Political Science; and Andrew Lucker, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science. ***Alternative Venue: LL06 B & C at Kelvin Smith Library***

November 7: ROTC Returns to Campus. With Lt. Colonel Donald Hazelwood, Northeast Ohio ROTC Commander and Professor of Military Science, John Carroll University. ***Alternative Venue: Mather House Room 100***

November 14: Perspectives on Human Subjects Research Requirements. With Suzanne Rivera Ph.D., M.S.W., Associate Vice President for Research and Assistant Professor of Bioethics. ***Alternative Venue: LL06 B & C at Kelvin Smith Library***

November 21: Local Government in an Age of Austerity. With David B. Miller, Associate Professor in the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and Council President, City of South Euclid.

November 28: Thanksgiving Break

December 5: Godless Democrats and Pious Republicans: Party Activists and the Mythical God Gulf. With Ryan Claassen, Associate Professor of Political Science, Kent State University.
September 28, 2014

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Upcoming Events

The New Heroin Epidemic

A discussion with Michael W. Clune, Associate Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University and Lee D. Hoffer, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University, September 29, 4:15-5:45 p.m., Room 309, Clark Hall, 11130 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106. Sponsored by the Center for Policy Studies.

From Rolling Stone to The Christian Science Monitor; WKYC Cleveland to CWRU’s Observer, reports tell us that heroin has become more common and a major killer. Cory Monteith and Philip Seymour Hoffman are highly publicized, “sentinel” cases. But overdoses killed 195 people in Cuyahoga County in 2013 – up from 40 in 2007, and more than the deaths from homicide or vehicle accidents.

Heroin use is both personal and social. Lee Hoffer, Associate Professor of Anthropology, studies the social world of illicit drug use. Among his works is Junkie Business: The Evolution and Operation of a Heroin Dealing Network. Associate Professor of English Michael Clune’s searing memoir of his own addiction, White Out: The Secret Life of Heroin, was chosen as one of the best books of 2013 by The New Yorker and NPR’s On Point. Join them for a broad discussion of the puzzles and issues raised by heroin’s presence in modern life.

How the Separation of Powers Informs the Executive Duty to Defend the Law

With Judge William H. Pryor Jr., United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, Thursday October 2, 4:30-5:30 p.m., Moot Court Room (A59), Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 11075 East Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44106-7148.

Do executive branch officials in the federal and state governments have an obligation to defend the law? In 2011 the Justice Department decided that it could no longer defend the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in federal court. Since then, several state Attorneys General followed suit, refusing to defend the state laws barring the recognition of same-sex marriage. In Ohio, Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a brief opposing the constitutionality of a state campaign law, even as the Attorney General’s office was defending the law in federal court. In this lecture, Judge Pryor will consider the obligation of government officials to defend validly enacted laws in light of established separation of powers principles, drawing on his experience as a state Attorney General, a federal judge, and a law professor.

October 2014







































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