Goodbye DC, hello India?

This research project has evolved to a cross-country study on the relationship between agricultural growth and the prevalence of undernourishment. In order to get to the root of the poverty in developing countries, this study will help policymakers understand what impact their projects to build up farmer productivity is having on nutrition. Based on the literature review and suggestions from John, I built my dataset using the prevalence of undernourishment in developing countries as my dependent variable and agricultural growth as my main independent variable.

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A Needle in a Haystack (the research question)

The reformulation process was quite the search, but I was finally able to figure out a way to find a question that would be more feasible and gain a better understanding of the issues overall. Talking to researchers at IFPRI was an incredible experience as I explored how to make the most of my summer research. The people there conduct surveys and impact evaluations of development interventions in South America, Africa, and Asia. I learned about multiple fields of research ranging from nutrition, environment, technology developments, governance, and women’s empowerment. Previously I had focused all my efforts on education in developing countries because that was what I had first hand exposure to, but learning about all these other areas peaked my curiosity and opened the door to a whole lot of exploratory research.

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Research Curveball

This whole process has actually been pretty interesting because I’ve realized you don’t always end up doing exactly what you plan based on what resources are available to you and time constraints. Originally, I planned to analyze determinants of primary and secondary school enrollment for boys and girls in Bangladesh to understand target areas for education incentive policies. I was going to do empirical analysis using datasets from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to determine the probability of child, household, and community level factors contributing to school enrollment, child labor, and girls’ age of marriage. The second part of my project would have been field research in Bangladesh to conduct a case study on a village in the dataset and compare the empirical data to observations on the ground.

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Introduction

Hi!

My name is Ishita Ahmed and I am a rising senior majoring in International Relations and Economics.  My research this summer will contribute to understanding what education incentive programs should be supported to encourage children in Bangladesh to attend school over joining the labor force.  I am particularly interested in this because as a  Bangladeshi, I have been a firsthand witness to the poverty that forces children to join the labor force to support their families and would like to work towards finding solutions that promote education and greater opportunities for these children.

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