November 20, 2018



Keynote on Development Finance
Featuring a leading thinker on international development, this session launched Duke University’s series of annual “development drilldowns.” Dr. Homi Kharas heads the Brookings Global Development Program (drill down). He was the lead author and executive secretary of the secretariat supporting the High Level Panel co-chaired by President Johnson-Sirleaf, President Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Cameron, which advised the U.N. Secretary General on the post-2015 development agenda. His report served as the basis for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Labor Migration
There are 258 million international migrants and 26 million refugees and asylum seekers in the world today. This session explored some pressing questions. What is needed to maximize co-development of migrants’ host and home states? How should these policies differ between economic and non-economic migrants, and between the more and less skilled workers? How can policies address the growing numbers of women among migrants and refugees? The session surveyed global migration trends, and the importance of sound migration policies for poverty reduction. It  then took up the cases of the Maldives and Turkey. Though geographically isolated, the Maldives have the largest proportion of migrant workers in South Asia. Migrant labor catalyzed Maldives’ transition from a low to a middle-income economy, but it now raises questions of sustainability. Unlike the Maldives, Turkey is located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and has always had migrants. Refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have increased its negotiating power with the European Union, but they also pose difficult questions about integration into labor markets and society. What should the Maldives and Turkey do? The session explored this question.

The Future of Multilateralism
The international development landscape is at a crossroads, with general agreement that change is both necessary and inevitable and much disagreement about the direction change will – or should – take. Experts on this panel discussed the future of international development institutions and the interaction between multilateral and bilateral development efforts. Economists and political scientists from academia and the policy community provided perspective on likely trajectories, advanced ideas for potential changes, and discussed impediments to change. This session launched a DCID-sponsored signature research initiative on the future of international development institutions led by Sarah Bermeo, Faculty Affiliate of the Duke Center for International Development.


Keynote Address: Rethinking Development
Dr. Kaushik Basu, the Carl Marks Professor of International Studies and Professor of Economics at Cornell University, keynoted the conference. Dr. Basu is a leading scholar of international development, game theory and welfare economics; he is also the current president of the International Economic Association. From 2012 to 2016, he was senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank, and from 2009 to 2012 the chief economic advisor to the Indian Government. He has chaired Cornell’s Department of Economics and its Center for Analytic Economics, having earlier founded the Centre for Development Economics at the Delhi School of Economics. He has received numerous honors including the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian awards. His latest book is The Republic of Beliefs: A New Approach to Law and Economics, published recently by Princeton University Press.

Development and Debt in Sub-Saharan Africa
During the last two decades, Sub-Saharan Africa has been transformed. A subcontinent of mostly low-income countries not so long ago, the region’s economy is now dominated by 20 middle-income countries. A region that depended mainly on aid from and trade with high-income Europe and North America now has two middle-income economies—China and India—as its largest trade partners. Governments in the region that had their slates wiped clean by large-scale debt relief are now racking up debt again, this time from private lenders at home and abroad. Meanwhile, softer commodity markets have weakened the growth prospects of the continent’s largest economies. How will Africa fare over the coming decade? In order to answer these questions, this session brought together current research on the African economy at Duke, the African Development Bank, and the World Bank, with commentary by senior development experts.

India’s Development Frontiers
This interdisciplinary panel explored the frontiers of policy research in India—on everything from economic growth and social mobility to demography and the environment.

Academic Evidence and Policy Impact
This panel discussed current practices in academic research on development policy, and innovations by university-based researchers to inform the design and evaluation of development programs, institutionalize rigorous M&E standards, and build a strong research foundation for development policy. It examined cases that point to promising ways for researchers to give timely input to development practitioners—both funders and implementers—at all stages of project conceptualization, design, implementation, and evaluation.

Achieving the Health SDGs
The 2030 SDGs set out ambitious targets for global health, including “end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria” and “end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age.” Reaching these targets will require major transformations in the financing, delivery, governance, and architecture of global health. This panel explored the feasibility of these transformations.

  • Panelists did not use PowerPoint.


For more information on the panels, please see the official conference agenda.