Friday, November 19, 2010

Symposium on Cornell-India research ties

The following are notes I took at today's symposium. I had planned on tweeting them but the internet connection was less than ideal.

Kanbur – the conjucture is high growth rates, increasing inequality, and many people left behind. Ongoing Maoist insurgency in rural areas left behind - more than ¼ of India’s districts, mostly east and southeast. Focus on removing the binding constraints; on helping most efficient areas to grow and redistribute; or make growth more equitable (foregoing some growth) – All 3 in India makes for interesting research prospects.

Hawkes (Food distribution) – Supermarket penetration rising with per capita income [would look linear if they had done income in logs] (USDA 2002). Very little sold through modern retail food stores in India. If I am a single-brand retail, I can open in India; if I am a multi-brand retail I can only own 50% of any firm I open there. Cities aren’t built to handle and efficiently distribute food. Lots of product loss in transport (as much as 40%). ~12 million small shops for food retail – about 10x as many stores per person as US.

Prakash (Tata-Cornell research project) – Goal to develop longitudinal survey to include dietary, economic, ag, physiological and health indicators (Barrett 2010). Existing data set: Sukhi Baliraja Initiative baseline survey (contact him or Barrett) – 7000 hhds, can be linked to census and NFHS. ~25%-40% children under 1 underweight. Extensive data on infant feeding practices, time use, weight. Study integrated child dev services and nat rural employment guarantee act (paid wages through bank account). How is it impacting ag productivity (loss of workers, growth of laziness)

Maertens (Ag tech and markets) – Majority of farmers said they prefer the more risky choice when facing non-convex asset dynamics and incomplete credit markets.

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