Thursday, April 17, 2014

17 April 2014: Spatial Distribution of Economic Activities and Commuting by Workers in Rural and Urban India

S. Chandrashekhar

Unlike migration, scant attention has been paid to the phenomenon of commuting by workers in developing countries. This paper fills this gap by using a nationally representative data set from India to analyze factors that affect the decision of workers to commute across rural and urban areas daily. Results suggest that regions with large peripheral urban areas or concentration of secondary sector jobs are more likely to have commuting workers. Regional rural and urban unemployment rates and rural-urban wage differentials are important push and pull factors in the decision to commute.

To show why commuting matters, the authors establish differences in monthly per capita consumption expenditure (MPCE), food consumption patterns, and dietary diversity across three mutually exclusive types of households: where all members work in rural areas, at least one member commutes to urban areas, or at least one member has no fixed place of work. The paper finds that as compared to households with no commuters, households with rural-urban commuters have higher MPCE and dietary diversity; whereas households with no fixed place workers have lower MPCE and dietary diversity. The paper also establishes differences in the above mentioned indicators across households which differ by their primary source of income.

Date: April 17, 2014
Time: 12:30 P.M.

2nd Floor Conference Room
The World Bank,
70 Lodi Estate,
New Delhi-110003(INDIA)


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Please confirm your attendance by email to Shilpi Gupta ( by Wednesday, April 16th.

Friday, April 4, 2014

7 April 2014: Is Outward FDI from Developing Countries a 'Good Thing'? Policy Implications for Home Countries

Rajneesh Narula
University of Reading, UK

A number of developing countries – such as India – have seen a growth in outward FDI by domestic multinational enterprises over the last two decades. A number of home countries (both developing and developed) have sought to encourage and promote such activity, arguing that such firms reflect their competitiveness and shifting comparative advantage. Other countries have reacted with alarm at outward FDI activity, feeling that it represents a ‘hollowing out’ of domestic assets, signalling a decline in their competitiveness. Professor Narula contends that both can be true simultaneously, especially in those countries that have a ‘‘Lewisian’’ dual economy, such as India. There are costs and benefits associated with outward FDI. Professor Narula argues that there is a greater likelihood that such investments will prove to be capital flight rather than opportunities for domestic upgrading, when generic approaches are applied.

Date: April 7, 2014
Time: 03:30 P.M.

NCAER Conference Room
National Council of Applied Economic Research
Parisila Bhawan, 11, Indraprastha Estate
New Delhi-110002(INDIA)


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Please join us for tea after the seminar. For queries, please contact Ms. Sudesh Bala at or on 011-2345-2669.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

24 April 2014: Role of Business in Improving Cities– The Experience of City Connect

V. Ravichandar
Feedback Consulting

Date: April 24, 2014
Time: 07:00 P.M.

Gulmohar Hall,
India Habitat Centre
Lodi Road,
New Delhi – 110 003(INDIA)


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Monday, March 31, 2014

4 April 2014: Sanitation and health externalities: Resolving the Muslim mortality paradox

Dean Spears
CDE, ISI, Delhi

In India, Muslims face significantly lower child mortality rates than Hindus, despite Muslim parents being poorer and less educated on average. Because observable characteristics would predict a Muslim disadvantage relative to Hindus, previous studies documenting this robust and persistent pattern have called it a \puzzle" of Muslim mortality. This paper offers a simple solution to the puzzle in the form of an important sanitation externality. Most of India's population defecates in the open, without the use of toilets or latrines, spreading fecal pathogens that can make children ill. Hindus are 40% more likely than Muslims to do so, and we show that this one difference in sanitation can fully account for the large (18%) child mortality gap between Hindus and Muslims. Building on our finding that religion predicts infant and child mortality only through its association with latrine use, we show that latrine use constitutes an externality rather than a pure private gain: It is the open defecation of one's neighbors, rather than the household's own practice, that matters most for child survival. The gradient and mechanism we uncover have important implications for child health and mortality worldwide, since 15% of the world's population defecates in the open. To put the results in context, we find that moving from a locality where everybody defecates in the open to a locality where nobody defecates in the open is associated with a larger difference in child mortality than moving from the bottom quintile of asset wealth to the top quintile of asset wealth.

Date: April 4, 2014
Time: 11:30 A.M.

Seminar Room 2
Indian Statistical Institute Delhi Centre,
7, S. J. S. Sansanwal Marg,
New Delhi-110016 (INDIA)


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Monday, March 24, 2014

2 April 2014: Building State Capacity for Better Program Implementation: Evidence from Biometric Smartcards in India

Karthik Muralidharan
University of California, San Diego

In this lecture organised by NCAER, Karthik Muralidharan will present results from a path-breaking three-year study, done jointly with Paul Niehaus (UCSD) and Sandip Sukhtankar (Dartmouth), on the impact of using biometrically-authenticated Smartcards to make payments to NREGS and Pension beneficiaries in Andhra Pradesh. Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission will be the Chief Guest at the lecture and lead the discussion.

Social protection programs in India are often plagued with leakage and corruption, and beneficiaries often face several challenges in accessing payments. One of the most promising attempts to increase state capacity to effectively implement programs is India’s ambitious initiative to provide all residents with a biometrically-authenticated Aadhar number linked to bank accounts, which can be used to directly transfer benefits. While this is a promising initiative, skeptics have raised several concerns including implementation challenges, subversion by vested interests, exclusion errors, and cost effectiveness.

The Andhra Pradesh Smartcard Program used biometrically-authenticated Smartcards to make payments under NREGS and Social Security Pensions and was a functional pre-cursor to the integration of Aadhar with these programs. Prof. Muralidharan will present results from a large-scale, scientifically rigorous, randomized impact evaluation of the AP Smartcard program on beneficiary experiences and leakage. The study finds that the new technology delivered a faster, more predictable, and less corrupt payments process that was also highly cost-effective (in spite of several implementation challenges). The results suggest that investing in secure authentication and payment infrastructure can significantly enhance “state capacity” to effectively implement a broad range of programs.

Date: April 2, 2014
Time: 05:30 P.M.

Multi-Purpose Hall
India International Centre (New Wing),
Max Mueller Marg, Lodi Estate,
New Delhi - 110 003

Participation by Invitation only.
For queries contact Ms Sudesh Bala at or on 011-2345-2669.


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31 March 2014: The Economics and the Econometrics of Human Development

James J. Heckman
University of Chicago, USA

Date: March 31, 2014
Time: 05:30 P.M.

Sri Ramakrishna Hall,
Institute of Economic Growth,
University of Delhi Enclave,
North Campus,

Please join us for High Tea at 5:00 p.m.
RSVP: Dr. S.K. Sen -, Ph:9810184203


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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

28 March 2014: The Value of Investing in Early Childhood Development

James J. Heckman
University of Chicago

Date: March 28, 2014
Time: 08:30 A.M.

The Taj Palace (Roshnara Hall),
Diplomatic Enclave,
2, Sardar Patel Marg, IB Colony,
New Delhi–110021(INDIA)


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Please RSVP to Samta Arora ( | +91 99538 27773) by Wednesday 19 March. Due to space limitations, this is an invitation-only event.