Farms and Firms: The Microeconomics of Poverty, Risk and Development

Department of Economics

Programme Leader: Professor J.W. Gunning

The programme addresses five key issues in the economics of development:

·         impact evaluation of policy interventions, notably in health and education;

·         the impact of risk on growth in rural societies;

·         statistical extrapolation techniques for “poverty mapping”;

·         micro-insurance;

·         foreign direct investment in developing countries.

The programme’s mission is to make fundamental contributions, both methodological and empirical, in these areas and to contribute through rigorous analysis to evidence-based policy design. The group has achieved a leading position in the field and aims to maintain and strengthen this position.

The programme can best be described as applied microeconomics. Its approach is strongly empirical, using experimental and survey data (for individuals, households or firms) for micro-econometric testing and impact evaluation. Involvement in the collection of such data and in the design of the survey instruments is an important and distinguishing part of the team’s research. In the period 2008-2011 survey data were collected on, for example, child rearing in St. Lucia, drinking water and sanitation in Mozambique, collective action in Tanzania and health insurance in Kenya.