Research & Policy Design – The First Bihar Development Conference

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15 January 2010, Patna, India

The Bihar Development Conference, jointly organized by J-PAL South Asia and the Government of Bihar, India, was aimed at identifying policy priorities in the state of Bihar and discussing ways to use evidence from J-PAL’s research to answer pressing questions about development.

The conference brought together leading academics, development practitioners and policymakers from around the world. J-PAL affiliates and their field partners from state governments and NGOs spoke about randomized evaluations of health, governance and education projects they had conducted in South Asia that might be particularly relevant for Bihar. Participants discussed the importance of impact evaluations in improving development programs and debated strategies for scaling up some of these effective development programs in Bihar.

Discussions at the conference and the relationships built between J-PAL and the state government has contributed to several collaborations with the state government:

• The Government of Bihar in association with J-PAL's sister organization - Deworm the World - launched a school-based deworming program in 2011 which targeted 20 million school-age children across the state.

• In collaboration with the Bihar Health Department, J-PAL is conducting a randomized evaluation of wide-scale distribution of Double Fortified Salt (DFS). DFID India, which was represented at the Conference, partly finances this study.

• J-PAL affiliates and the Government of Bihar are discussing approaches to improve the delivery of poverty reduction programs, including better implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (MGNREGP) and the provision of cash transfers in lieu of subsidized rations.

The conference was attended by over a hundred senior government officials including the Deputy Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary of the State and senior police and civil services officials besides members of the Indian Parliament, academics, and representatives from NGOs and multilateral and bilateral agencies including the country heads of the World Bank and DFID. 

Conference Welcome Letters
Honorable Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar
Abhijit Banerjee, Professor of Economics, M.I.T.

Conference Agenda

Bios of Conference Speakers


Iqbal Dhaliwal, Director of Policy, J-PAL Global
Guyanendra Badgaiyan, Director of J-PAL South Asia

Video of 1. Iqbal Dhaliwal and 2. Guyanendra Badgaiyan

Session 1: Improving Health Outcomes
Rachel Glennerster, Executive Director, J-PAL, M.I.T.
Neelima Khetan, CEO, Seva Mandir, Udaipur, Rajasthan

Video of 3. Rachel Glennerster and 4. Neelima Khetan

Session 2: Deworming
Karthik Muralidharan, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of California - San Diego
L.V. Subramanyam, I.A.S., Principal Secretary-Health, Government of Andhra Pradesh

Video of 5. Karthik Muralidharan and 6. L.V. Subramanyam
Video of 7. Question and Answer session

Video of 8. the Hon'ble Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Kumar Modi

Session 3: Voters' Campaigns
Rohini Pande, Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Anjali Bhardwaj, Founding Member and Director, Satark Nagrik Sangathan, Delhi

Video of 9. Abhijit Banerjee, 10. Rohini Pande, and 11. Anjali Bhardwaj

Session 4: Improving Police Effectiveness

Esther Duflo, Professor of Economics, M.I.T.
Nina Singh, I.P.S., Inspector General of Police, Government of Rajasthan

Session 5: Read India - Every Child in School and Learning Well

Abhijit Banerjee, Professor of Economics, M.I.T.
Rajesh Bhushan, I.A.S., Director Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Government of Bihar
Sanjay Kumar Singh, State Director for Bihar, Pratham, India