The Second University of Washington Bangladesh Development conference held on April 8th 2016, featured seven presentations on topics relevant to the study of Bangladesh including topics ranging from mobile money to global warming to garment factories. The style was informal, so the audience had lots of opportunities to discuss the ideas raised with presenters and each other.  The conference served both to interest researchers (including graduate students just getting started on research) to opportunities and data available in Bangladesh, as well as to expose researchers primarily focused on other countries to relevant research in Bangladesh.

Key outcomes

  1. Attendees learned about current research related to Bangladesh and relevant case studies from other countries.
  2. Much of the research presented was in its early stages, so presenters benefited from feedback and in particular the opportunity to discuss their research with others involved in Bangladesh studies.
  3. Attendees met others interested in research in Bangladesh.

Presentations delivered were: 

Volatility and the Gains from Trade” by Treb Allen

Treb showed how openness to trade can improve farmers’ incomes but also increase the risk they face.  Rural banks help them deal with this volatility.

 “Mobile-izing Savings with Automatic Contributions: Experimental Evidence on Dynamic Inconsistency and the Default Effect in Afghanistan” by Josh Blumenstock

Josh found that defaulting workers in Afghanistan to an automatic enrollment plan with matching contributions increased savings rates.

 “Split Sample Strategies for Avoiding False Discoveries” by Jeremy Magruder

Jeremy discussed a new method to avoid multiple testing concerns in experimental studies (i.e. the concern that if you test many hypotheses, some will have P-values under 0.05 just by chance), such as the large scale trials of health and livelihood interventions in Bangladesh.

Migrants, Information, and Working Conditions in Bangladeshi Garment Factories” by Rachel Heath

Rachel argued that migrants in Bangladeshi garment factories have limited information about the industry when they begin work, which can explain the empirical finding that they begin work in factories with higher wages but worse working conditions, but move towards factories with better conditions as they gain experience.

Displacement and Development: Partition of India and Agricultural Development” by Prashant Bharadwaj

Prashant argued that the migrants induced to move by partition brought new ideas to agriculture in India.

Long-lasting Income Shocks and Adaptations: Evidence from Coral Bleaching in Indonesia” by Pasita Chaijaroen

Pasita found that when global warming increased sea temperatures, fishermen’s income fell in the short run, but after several years they were able to adapt.

Migration and Consumption Insurance in Bangladesh” by Melanie Morten

Melanie found that migration helped people in villages in Bangladesh by providing sources of income that are not so closely tied to the economies in the village.