Poverty, Gender, and Youth Program Seminar Series
Sponsored by the Population Council's Poverty, Gender, and Youth program
Seminars are held from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm at the Population Council, One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (on Second Avenue between 47th & 48th Streets), in the John D. Rockefeller seminar room (JDR-A) on the 9th floor. Please RSVP to email@example.com so your name can be provided to security in the building lobby. Enter the building at the 48th Street entrance.
If you are unable to attend a seminar but would like to view a presentation online via WebEx, e-mail your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information on seminars or to be added to the seminar announcement mail list, please contact seminar organizer Sajeda Amin.
3 December 2009
Speaker: Joanne Csete, Associate Professor, Clinical Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Title: "The other African AIDS epidemic: Injection drug use and the policy environment for prevention and care"
- Speaker bio
Joanne Csete is associate professor of clinical population and family health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Her teaching and research are focused on health and human rights, particularly related to HIV. She was previously executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and founding director of the HIV/AIDS Program at Human Rights Watch. In these positions, she helped build a program of research and policy analysis on AIDS-related human rights violations faced by women and girls, people who use drugs, prisoners, sex workers, and men who have sex with men. She was program coordinator of the UNICEF Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa and oversaw technical support to HIV programs. She worked on health programs in sub-Saharan Africa for over ten years. She was on the faculties of nutritional sciences and international development studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for five years.
4 November 2009
Speaker: Abigail Harrison, Assistant Professor (Research), Population Studies and Training Center, Brown University, Providence, RI
Title: "Exploring the relationship and fertility contexts of HIV risk among young adults in South Africa" (PDF of abstract)
- Speaker bio
Abigail Harrison has served as assistant professor (research) at Brown University’s Population Studies and Training Center, and the Warren Alpert School of Medicine, since 2005. She is also affiliated with Brown’s International Health Institute, the Center for AIDS Research, and the university’s new Global Health Initiative. She received her Ph.D. (2004) in epidemiology and population health from the Centre for Population Studies, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London. Harrison also holds both an M.P.H. (international health) and an M.A. (international development) from Johns Hopkins University.
Harrison’s current research focuses on adolescents and the transition to adulthood in the context of HIV/AIDS in southern Africa. In collaboration with South African colleagues, she serves as co-investigator on a study of education, schooling patterns, and HIV prevention in secondary schools, as well as a research project "Structurally Linking HIV/AIDS and Family Planning Services," in collaboration with the University of the Witwatersrand’s Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit. Dr. Harrison’s research also focuses on analysis of ethnographic data from a long-term research project on “Adolescents Through the Lifecourse in Rural South Africa”, and on the interrelationships between nonmarital unions, fertility, and HIV risks among young adult women in South Africa and Lesotho. Recently, she has extended her qualitative research to include investigation of the environment, health, and illness in Ghana.
20 May 2009
Speaker: Jonathan Morduch, Professor of Public Policy and Economics, Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University, New York, NY
Title: "Portfolios of the poor: How the world's poor live on $2 a day"
- Speaker bio
Jonathan Morduch is professor of public policy and economics at New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Morduch has taught on the economics faculty at Harvard University and has held fellowships or visiting positions at Stanford, Princeton, and the University of Tokyo. Morduch received his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard and his B.A. from Brown (offsite link to additional information). Morduch’s research focuses on international development, poverty, and financial access. He is managing director of the Financial Access Initiative (offsite link) and is co-author of Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day (Princeton University Press, 2009, offsite link) and The Economics of Microfinance (MIT Press, 2005).
13 May 2009
Speaker: Agnes R. Quisumbing, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC (PDF of bio)
Title: "Assets and poverty traps in Bangladesh" (co-author: Bob Baulch)
In recent years, a literature on assets and poverty traps in developing countries has emerged with two distinct strands. The first of these strands takes a micro-economic perspective and uses household-level panel data on asset holdings to distinguish between structurally and stochastically poor households and to identify whether a "bifurcation point" exists at which asset holdings (usually defined in terms of an index of physical productive assets) tend toward high or low level equilibria. The second strand takes a more macro-economic and system dynamics perspective and examines whether low-level equilibria are consistent with the divergence of living standards between regions and countries and to what extent this is associated with "adverse geography."
This paper is firmly within the micro-economic strand of the poverty traps literature, and seeks to apply and extend Carter and Barrett’s dynamic assets framework to rural Bangladesh. In particular, it will investigate the following questions using a unique longitudinal survey covering 1,787 households located in three case-control interventions in rural Bangladesh: (a) is there evidence of multiple equilibria in land and physical capital asset holdings in rural Bangladesh?; (b) if so, does a "bifurcation point" (at which assets holdings or livelihood trajectories diverge) or "break point" in the dynamic asset frontier best characterize asset dynamics in rural Bangladesh; (c) what household and community characteristics are associated with asset growth over time? In particular, what is the role of access to credit, labor markets, and NGOs in asset accumulation?; and (d) what are the events and processes (such as health shocks, natural disasters, payments of marriage dowries, property division, and so forth) that prevent households from accumulating assets? To what extent are these mitigated by positive events?
Preliminary findings suggest that the dynamic asset frontier is concave, but we do not find evidence for multiple equilibria in the case of non-land assets. We hypothesize that the existence of well-functioning markets for labor and capital and the absence of discrete differences in livelihood strategies in rural Bangladesh, and in Asia more generally, help to explain the contrast between these results and those for several African countries. Extensions of the work will examine the extent to which asset accumulation trajectories differ for men and women.
4 May 2009
Speaker: Joshua R. Goldstein, Director and Head, Laboratory of Economic and Social Demography, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany (offsite links: bio; additional information)
Title: "The end of lowest-low fertility? An overview of recent increases of fertility in lowest-low-fertility countries in Europe and Asia"
13 April 2009
Speaker: Cynthia B. Lloyd, Senior Associate, Poverty, Gender, and Youth Program
Chair, Bixby Fellowship Program, Population Council (bio)
Title: "Girls transformed: The power of education for girls during adolescence"
In today’s rapidly globalizing environment, universal access to a range of educational opportunities for sustained learning during adolescence, regardless of prior educational background, is essential if girls are going to be able to make the shift from economic dependency to self-sufficiency, participation, and economic productivity. Girls’ educational needs during this phase of the life cycle, particularly in the poorest countries and communities, are acute. Girls have yet to be able to translate recent rapid improvements in school enrollment into equivalent gains in economically productive work and civic engagement in late adolescence and early adulthood. This is especially true in settings where expected roles of boys and girls begin to diverge sharply in early adolescence. While many factors contribute to this gender imbalance, reforms in the education sector, which affect learning opportunities for adolescents, have the potential to prepare and empower girls for a range of adult roles beyond the traditional roles of homemaker, mother, and spouse, with implications not just for the girls themselves, but also for their families and communities. The report’s title, “Girls transformed,” is intended as a “call to action” for governments, education ministries, donors, NGOs, and corporations to collaborate, innovate, and invest in a range of educational opportunities for adolescent girls that are transformative not only in terms of skills and knowledge acquired; attitudes, aspirations, and self-confidence forged; but also in terms of pathways taken.
10 February 2009
Speaker: Andrew M. Fischer, Lecturer in Population and Social Policy, Institute of Social Studies
The Hague, Netherlands (PDF of bio)
Title: "Educating for exclusion in the multiethnic urbanization of Western China"
The paper examines structural and institutional disjunctures across education and urban employment systems in the Tibetan areas of Western China, with a focus on Qinghai Province and the Tibet Autonomous Region, which together account for about three-quarters of the Tibetan areas and Tibetan population in China. The study is based on inductive quantitative analysis of official statistical data combined with qualitative field research in these two provinces from 2003 to 2007. In both provinces, the implementation of competitive labor market reforms within a context of severe educational inequalities is argued to have accentuated exclusionary dynamics along culturally or ethnically articulated modes of bias despite rapid urban-centered economic growth and efforts to increase school enrollments since the mid-1990s. Importantly, these modes of bias operate not only at the lower end of the urban labor hierarchy, but also at the middle and upper end, due in part to an exceptional educational asymmetry in comparison to other ethnic minority or majority groups in China. The asymmetry is further reinforced by political and economic subordination to the dominant Han Chinese national majority. The resultant ethnically exclusionary dynamics, particularly at the middle and upper end of the labor hierarchy, offer important insights into conflictive tensions in the region and into ways that many of these tensions can be resolved within the context of already-existing national minority laws in China, if and when these laws would be used to allow for effective political representation and decisionmaking by minority groups themselves within their respective minority autonomous areas.
At a more theoretical level, the insights from this study suggest that absolute indicators, such as absolute education levels or poverty rates, offer only partial insight into processes of marginalization or exclusion. Moreover, exclusion needs to be differentiated from poverty (even relative poverty) given that exclusionary processes can occur vertically throughout a social hierarchy, among the poor and the nonpoor, and in many cases exclusion might intensify with movements out of poverty, such as during urbanization. Indeed, the most politically contentious exclusions are often those that occur among relatively elite and/or upwardly aspiring sections of a population. Therefore, the methodological challenge that faces studies of exclusion, as with the horizontal inequality approach (i.e., Stewart 2002), lies in finding ways to measure structural and institutional disjunctures that move beyond either absolute measures, as per mainstream approaches to human development, or relative (i.e., inequality) measures, given that both are only capable of identifying potential exclusions occurring at the bottom of a social hierarchy.
13 January 2009
Speaker: Michael J. White, Director, Population Studies and Training Center
Brown University (PDF of bio)
Title: "Urbanization, health, and environment: Insights from Ghana"
The paper on which Professor White’s talk is based is jointly authored with C. Andrzejewski, K. Awusabo-Asare, A. Kumi-Kyereme, S. Nixon, S. Granger, B. Buckley, and H. Reed. Related research was funded by NIH, MacArthur, Mellon, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
This paper examines the relationships among population dynamics, environment, and economic development. We focus particularly on urbanization, whose impact is often characterized as strongly negative. We first examine the broad conceptual issues of population, urbanization, and environment, providing demographic insight to the understanding of the role of urban growth and urbanization in developing countries today (juxtaposed with the historical experience of industrialized countries). Then, drawing on results using primary data collected in coastal Ghana between 2002 and 2004, we introduce findings from several components of our interdisciplinary population–environment research. These include the influence of urbanization on coastal lagoon nutrient content; the role of urbanization in fertility change; and the determinants of environmental attitudes. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our findings for both a more nuanced understanding of population–environment links, as well as shifts in public policies and programs, particularly policies aimed at migration, urban growth and urbanization.
Contacts and Resources
The Population Council welcomes Landis MacKellar as co-editor of Population and Development Review.