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The start of a new year

As the new academic year begins, center director Grant Miller gives an update on the center's exciting growth as a hub for development research at Stanford.
grant miller
Grant Miller

As the new academic year begins, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support of the Center on Global Poverty and Development and also update you on our exciting growth as a hub for development research at Stanford. 

I extend a warm welcome to all of our faculty and students returning to campus. We are proud to bring together more than 100 faculty members from across Stanford whose diverse areas of expertise will continue to build our foundation of innovative research. We also look forward to another busy and productive year filled with our new student programs, coupled with our growing engagement with public and private decision-makers through Center-sponsored events. 

Expanding our impact

My colleagues and I have just returned from the inaugural Stanford China Economic Forum, hosted by our China Program and in partnership with the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) and the Graduate School of Business. The daylong Forum drew nearly 500 scholars, business leaders, and Stanford alumni from the Asia-Pacific region for a deep dive into issues including technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and U.S.–China relations. Stanford University President, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, as well as the deans of the Graduate School of Business, School of Engineering, and School of Medicine, all participated in the day’s events. We are looking forward to strengthening our partnerships with research and business colleagues in China and we’re grateful for our supporters who make events like the China Economic Forum possible. 

Learning from our colleagues

We are sponsoring a number of exciting upcoming events. Today, Jim Kim, president of the World Bank Group, will be discussing global health and human capital with students, as well as participating in a roundtable with faculty. On Oct. 16, Paul Niehaus, co-founder and president of GiveDirectly and associate professor of economics at UCSD; and Paul Brest, former president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the former dean and professor emeritus at Stanford Law School, will discuss the role of cash transfers in philanthropy and policy. On Dec. 6, we are partnering with the U.K.’s International Growth Centre to host an academic conference at Stanford, on “Firms, Trade, and Development.” For more details on events, please visit our upcoming events webpage.

Building a community of scholars

This upcoming year, we are welcoming two outstanding professors as part of our Distinguished Visitors Program. The first of the Noosheen Hashemi Visiting Scholars is Solomon Hsiang, the Chancellor's Associate Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Solomon’s work combines big data with mathematical models to understand how public policy can encourage economic development. The second is Fabrizio Zilibotti, the Tuntex Professor of International and Development Economics at Yale University and co-editor of Econometrica. His research focuses on economic growth and development, political economy, macroeconomics, and the economic development of China.

We are delighted to announce Saumitra Jha as the inaugural Peiros Family Fellow and Pete Klenow as the first Dong Wei Fellow. Saumitra is a member of the political economy group at the Graduate School of Business. Pete is the Ralph Landau Professor in Economic Policy, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Senior Fellow at SIEPR. Both Saumitra and Pete are members of the Center’s faculty steering committee and we are happy to support their respective work on conflict and polarization and firms, trade, and innovation. We are grateful to several donors for endowing these faculty fellowships.

Investing in faculty research

We are excited to launch three new “early-stage” initiatives this fall.  One focuses on “Conflict and Polarization,” an area in which Stanford is poised to lead. Over the next year, faculty and graduate students will cultivate new ideas about the causes, effects, and prevention of violent conflict around the world, with emphasis on mitigating its human toll and harm to economic development. “Conflict and Polarization,” along with an "Economic History Lab" on long-run inter-relationships between institutions and development, and a concerted effort to tackle outsized global environmental health challenges (such as lead exposure, believed to impact 40% of children in South Asia) are all new programs underway this fall.  
We are also dedicated to expanding our flagship initiatives, including Data for Development, Firms and Global Productivity, and the Stanford Economic Development Research Initiative. All are producing innovative research and applications, and we look forward to their growth and impact. 

Developing more opportunities for students

Facilitating transformative student experiences continues to be a growing emphasis at the Center. In the last year, we have provided a number of opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students to conduct research in low- and middle-income countries.

12 undergraduates traveled to Cote d’Ivoire, India, Indonesia, and Senegal as part of our expanding Summer Undergraduate Field Research Assistant Program. Participating students gained tangible fieldwork experience while working closely with Stanford faculty members on projects ranging from studying political parties to emergency medical care services.

As part of our India Program, six undergraduates returned from the Kakatiya Sandbox program and Maharashtra State Rural Livelihoods Mission, where they spent three weeks with local non-governmental organizations and government officials working to build sustainable livelihoods and scalable solutions for alleviating rural poverty.

18 undergraduate students also participated in “Journey of Inquiry” trips, which allows students an in-depth opportunity for experiential learning in low- and middle-income countries. This most recent excursion took students to Delhi, Agra, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Jaipur to learn about the organizational design of Indian corporate governance.

Five PhD students received graduate fellowships to support them in finalizing their dissertation research and analysis and 20 students were awarded research funding to support their original field research studies. 

One of the doctoral students receiving research funding is Elisabeth van Lieshout, a PhD candidate in political science. Elisabeth explores how the growing importance of global value chains in production is changing the formation of trade policy. In particular, she examines why developing countries are now including commitments to domestic reforms in trade agreements. 

Diego Jiménez Hernández’s project, funded by the Ronald I. McKinnon Memorial Fellowship, explores the best practices for government intervention when guaranteeing universal access to staple foods. Diego is collaborating with the Mexican Ministry of Development to study a program that provides low-cost milk to households with children, the elderly, and pregnant women. 

We will continue to grow our successful student programs, and also look forward to offering new opportunities. Helping to alleviate global poverty takes passionate individuals and fresh ideas; we are thankful for the wide interest from Stanford students across campus who are interested in this area of research. We are also grateful to our donors who help make these opportunities possible.

I’m excited to see what we will accomplish together this year. I always welcome the opportunity to hear from you and how we can serve you, whether you are a faculty member, student, visiting scholar, or supporter. We are truly grateful for your interest and philanthropy.

Warm regards,

Grant Miller, PhD, MPP
Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development

Please note that prior to May 2019, the Stanford King Center on Global Development was known as the Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development.

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