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For your class presentations you will be discussing a single topic in development microeconomics for 10 minutes. In doing this you will do background reading on your topic, perhaps reading through 8-10 papers, and then choosing 3 papers from these that you believe represent the best, most conclusive research to date on your topic. Each presentation should be 10 minutes.
Topics can include any area in education, health, microenterprise, infrastructure, gender issues, environmental economics, behavioral economics, etc. Here are some guidelines for your presentation:
Choose only published journal articles. Please choose papers only appearing in peer-refereed journals, and at least two of these should be economics journals. Exceptions might be NBER working papers or World Bank working papers, but no more than one of these. Good journals are the Journal of Development Economics, World Development, The World Bank Economic Review, Economic Development and Cultural Change, and the Journal of Development Effectiveness along with the other general economics journals.
Give a brief introduction of your topic. This should be your first slide and no more than a couple of minutes. Just give a brief overview, e.g. “Microfinance is a way to channel capital to the poor in developing countries…” Present your conclusion briefly up front about what this literature says. (2 minutes)
Briefly summarize the important findings of each of the 3 articles. Give an interesting summary of each article that should *not* seem like you are reading the abstract. Make it interesting and exciting, after all, this is one of the best articles on the topic! Each article should be only 1-2 slides. Present a graph if you can that captures a lot of what the article finds. (6 minutes)
Synthesize the research. This is the most important. Given what these and other key articles find, what is the state-of-the-art knowledge about this intervention or development policy? Taken together, what can you tell the class about the implications of the research in this field as we understand it today? Here, you must think about what the class needs to know about your topic and what the best research has to say as a whole about it, e.g. “Based on the results of these three randomized trials and other work, we now know that microfinance doesn’t have quite the impact that we thought it had….” (2 minutes)
**You will be graded on your performance in four categories, each 25 points:
1. Did you convey excitement about your topic and make your presentation interesting?
2. Did you choose excellent 3 research articles that represent cutting-edge knowledge in the field?
3. Did you present the results of the articles well? (quality of speech & slides are important)
4. Were the articles well synthesized and summarized between the two presentations? What did we learn from the research all together?
Examples of topics:
- What does the latest research say about the impacts of unconditional cash transfers?
- What does new research say are the best ways to help prevent deforestation around villages?
- What are the long-term effects of de-worming (or any other kind of health intervention)?
- What are the effects of providing textbooks to poor, rural schools in the developing world?