Projects in theme: Development, Institutions And Demographic Change

Governance and Inequality in Indian Cities

Patrick Heller, Ashutosh Varshney (Brown University)

Indian cities face tremendous challenges of governance because of entrenched inequalities and accelerating urban migration. Yet the social science literature on urban governance in India is conspicuous by its absence. This interdisciplinary team proposes to fill this gap through a long-term research project that is motivated by three fundamental questions. First, what are the predominant patterns of inequality in urban India and how is inequality structured? Second, how are Indian cities governed and how do these patterns of governance both reflect and impact patterns of inequality?

Great Expectations: Humanitarianism and the Invention of AIDS Orphans in Botswana

Dahl’s anthropological research in Botswana explores the social effects of international humanitarian organizations' efforts to provide aid during the HIV pandemic, with particular focus on programs that support orphaned children. She also finds a significant tradeoff associated with the provision of aid. In particular, aid workers provide an alternative and much needed source of authority and nurture for orphans; but in so doing the workers erode the traditional kin-network as an alternative source of care giving.

How Health Improvements Affect Economic Activity

Weil’s recent research focuses on how changes in health and fertility affect economic growth in the setting of developing countries. Regarding health, he has examined how improvements in overall health, as proxied by life expectancy, as well as control of specific diseases (malaria and tuberculosis) feeds through channels such as worker productivity, human capital accumulation, and population age structure to effect the level of income per capita.

How Teachers Use Data to Inform and Improve Their Practice

Tyler uses objective data in the form of automatically generated web logs to examine how much and in what ways teachers view student performance data when it is presented to them in a web-based application. This work also examines the extent to which the use of web-based student data is related to student test score growth.

Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy

Motivated by Foster’s previous work examining the relation between democratization, allocation of public goods, and land ownership, this study will use experimental economics to determine whether the same policies would have a different effect if implemented democratically or by fiat.

Integrated Graduate Education and Training Grant (IGERT) on Inequality in the Developing World

This interdisciplinary training and research program brings together Brown University and four partner institutions in Brazil, China, India and South Africa, to examine inequality in the developing world. It aims to help resolve one of the most crucial, but intractable, problems of the twenty-first century: the high levels of inequality in many developing countries.  The project is housed at the Watson Institute at Brown.

Life Projects and Antiretroviral Therapy: The Social Impacts of Scale-up

This is a planning grant in which Smith follows up on work that chronicles the transition toward modern marriage in Nigeria and finds that the associated ideals of morality make the discussion of, and thus protection against, risky sexual behavior more difficult than may have been the case in the past.

Marriage and Fertility in Occupied Palestine

D. Hogan examines health effects of the 2008-2009 Gaza Strip attack and changes in marriage and fertility in occupied Palestine.

Measuring Social Connection and Children’s Well-Being using Multiple Data Sources

This comprehensive study measures social support systems of children in a rural area of South Africa.  Designed to address the gaps left by standard census and survey tools, it combines intensive ethnographic data with longitudinal demographic data from the Agincourt Demographic Surveillance System (DSS). The ethnographic data can identify instances of support and relate these to information from the household database. The value of this approach is then assessed by measuring the relationship between the resulting measures of social support and child outcomes.

Measuring the Social and Environmental Impact of the UHE Belo Monte Dam Complex in Pará, Brazil

In this interdisciplinary and collaborative project, VanWey coordinates a team that includes Andrew Foster and other colleagues from Brown, along with researchers from the Woods Hole Research Center, and Brazilian colleagues from the University of Campinas and the University of São Paulo.  The team will be evaluating the state of the Xingu River near Altamira, Pará, Brazil, before construction begins on what will be the world’s third largest hydroelectric project.