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Welcome to this
second Henry Stewart Talk
on Development Economics.
I'm Julie Schaffner,
I'm a Development Economist
in The Fletcher School
of Law and Diplomacy
at Tufts University.
In the first talk of this series,
we defined development as a process
of economic and social change
that brings sustained
and widespread improvements
This definition raises
two fundamental questions
for the study of development,
both of which point
to the importance of taking a close look
at the people
who live in developing countries.
First, what is well-being?
What are the ways
that life could improve for people
that would constitute
the improvements in well-being
that we hope for
in successful development?
Answering this question is important
for defining the objectives
that should guide development work.
what levers might development actors
such as governments,
social entrepreneurs, and others use
to raise household's we'll-being?
How can the policies they put in place
ultimately connect with people
in ways that raise their well-being?
I see this as a useful starting point
about development policy
where I'm using
the term policy very broadly
to mean all the kinds of programs,
initiatives, or reforms
that development actors of many types
might undertake with the aim of
contributing to development.
So these are the big questions
we want to begin answering in this talk.
As we do, I'll be using two key terms
that I would like to define upfront.
First is the term "Household."
A household is usually defined
as a group of people
who live together
in a shared residence location
and eat meals together.
For development economists,
is the default unit of analysis
for studying people and we'll-being
because the members
of a household share
in common many living conditions
like housing quality and food
that are important to well-being.
They also face many common challenges
and often have to take on the challenges
in a way that involves cooperation
or some kind of division of labor.
A foundational assumption
in development economics
is that a household's members
make many important choices
seeking at least roughly
to maximize well-being
as they understand it subject
to important constraints.
I think this assumption
has been validated
and enriched by decades
of careful empirical research
in developing countries.
This assumption highlights first
that households are decision makers.
They're active participants
They're not just passive recipients
Second, they make choices with an eye
to advancing their own well-being.
This suggests that we can learn
about what matters to them
about this important question
of what well-being
is by observing the choices
they make in the activities
it highlights that households
work at pursuing well-being
subject to important constraints.
This suggests that if we want to learn
about the levers
that development actors might use
to raise a household's well-being,
we should pay careful attention
to the constraints households
face in their pursuit of well-being
and essentially brainstorm about ways
of relaxing those constraints.
This leads us to the second term
I'd like to define...