Seminar: Development and Environmental Issues in Bangladesh and Other Developing Countries

A seminar was jointly organised by Economic Research Group (ERG) & International Growth Centre (IGC) on 17th December 2012. The focus was on development and environmental issues in Bangladesh and other developing countries. Hosted by ERG, the programme was launched with a view to providing a platform for the young academics and researchers to interact and share their research findings. The day-long programme had three sessions with eight different presentations.

The first session was on environment and climate change related issues. Shaikh Mahfuzur Rahman of Texas Tech University made the first presentation on the adoption of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) by developing countries. The paper investigates the factors behind the motivation to adopt CDM and to find out the factors that affect the level and speed of CDM adoption. Kazi Iqbal from BIDS was the next presenter and focused on the impact of climate change on migration. His study found that variability in per capita revenue leads to more net out-migration for a particular district due to climate change.

The second session dealt with policy insights from empirical experiments. Minhaj Mahmud of BIDS and Ananta Nileem of Monash University focused on whether religious identity or the majority-minority status affects the trust behaviour of people. Drawing upon data collected from West Bengal (India) and Bangladesh, the study concluded that the majority-minority status, not religion, is a more important determinant of trust behaviour amongst rural people. The second presentation was on ‘Status, Risk and Catching Up’ by Pallab Mozumder from Florida International University. Findings from a lab experiment were presented validating the hypothesis that the relatively less wealthy individuals tend to take riskier pursuits to catch up with their peers. The third one, presented by Dr. Abu S. Shonchoy of University of Tokyo Institute of Development Economies IDE-JETRO, was on impact of seasonality on school dropout in Bangladesh; justifying the need for rescheduling the schooling calendar harmonizing with the agricultural calendar.

The third session focused on the supply side issues, where the first presentation was on Assessment of Competition in the Sugar Supply Chain of Bangladesh by Mohammed Helal Uddin from University of Dhaka and ERG. The study explored the supply chain and investigated the market structure for sugar. It also evaluated the recent government interventions in the essential commodity markets, like edible oil, sugar etc. The second one by Wahid Abdallah (BRAC University) shaded light on outreach-profitability tradeoff faced by the non-government organizations operating with micro finance in Bangladesh. The last presentation of the day was by Arif Al Mamun (Mathematica Policy Research, USA) on the base line findings on evaluation on MCC’s electricity line extension activity in Tanzania.

Apart from young participants from ERG, Brac-RED, Dhaka University, Brac University and BIDS, the workshop was led Wahiduddin Mahmud (IGC and ERG), Sajjad Zohir (ERG) and Fahad Khalil (University of Washington and ERG) among others. On this occasion Wahiduddin Mahmud emphasised on the need for research work done on policy-relevant issues. He encouraged the young researchers to come to explore the field. According to him, Bangladesh needs to use some of her resources for policy research, related to domestic economic issues. Rigorous investigation of overdue problems is required to identify their solutions.

Sessions

Environment and Climate Change related issues

Shaikh Mahfuzur Rahman (Texas Tech University): Adoption of the Clean Development Mechanism by Developing Countries

Kazi Iqbal (Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, BIDS): Climate Change, Agriculture and Migration: Evidence from Bangladesh (with Paritosh Kumar Roy)

Policy Insights from Experiments

Minhaj Mahmud (BIDS), Ananta Nileem (Monash University): Religious Identity, Minority Status and Trust: Evidence from a Field Experiment (with Gautam Gupta, Pushkar Maitra and Santanu Mitra)

Pallab Mozumder (Florida International University): Status, Risk, and Catching Up (with Michael McKee and Robert Berrens)

Abu Sanchoy (Institute of Developing Economies, JETRO): Ramadan School Holidays as a Natural Experiment: Impacts of Seasonality on School Dropout in Bangladesh (with Seiro Ito)

Views from the Supply-Side

Wahid Abdallah (BRAC University), Atonu Rabbani (University of Dhaka & ERG): The Outreach-Profitability Tradeoff: Evidence from an Ultra-Poor Program in Bangladesh (with Monirul Hasan)

Arif Al Mamun (Mathematica Policy Research): Evaluation of MCC’s Electricity-Line Extension Activity in Tanzania: Baseline Findings

Trade Issues

Abdul Munasib (Oklahoma State University), Devesh Roy (International Food Policy Research Institute): Non-tariff Barriers as Bridges to Cross

Tony Venables (University of Oxford, IGC): Regional Integration

Public Private Partnerships

M. Fouzul Kabir Khan (North South University): Problems and Prospects of Public Private Partnership in Bangladesh