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Release of Pakistan Rural Household Panel Survey (RHPS) 2012 Dataset

2016 February 2
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PSSPThe International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) made public the dataset of Pakistan Rural Household Panel Survey 2012.  This data will be available for researchers to use by accessing the following link:

Pakistan Rural Household Panel Survey (RHPS) is the 1st round of the Rural Household Panel Survey, which aims to provide quantita-tive basis to identify and address urgent economic policy priorities. The RHPS covers 2090 households in 76 primary sampling units in the rural areas of three provinces namely: (i) Punjab; (ii) Sindh; and (iii) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). The sample is nationally representa-tive of the rural areas of the three provinces. This survey collected information on a large number of topics, such as, sources of in-come, nature of employment, consumption patterns, time use, as-sets and savings, loans and credit, education, migration, economic shocks, participation in social safety nets, and household aspira-tions. Six survey instruments were developed to collect this infor-mation. These included three household level questionnaires (two were designed to collect household information on various house-hold and individual level aspect by males and females separately, and the third was an aspirations questionnaire, conducted on a household member between ages 18-35), a community question-naire, a price questionnaire, and a school questionnaire.

Download PSSP Data Brochure Brief

Highlights of recent IFPRI food policy research in Pakistan

2016 January 21
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by Yifei Liu

PSSPIn the wake of the food crises of the early 1970s and the resulting World Food Conference of 1974, a group of innovators realized that food security depended on more than just making yield-enhancing technologies available to farmers. These pioneers discovered that it was also essential to ensure that public policies and investments provided the enabling environment for a more productive and innovative agricultural sector and rural economy. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) was founded in 1975, in response to these needs, providing evidence-based policy options to end poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.

IFPRI has engaged with Pakistan on these topics since the mid-1980s, including through a series of studies on agricultural productivity, agricultural markets, and water resource management in the country, carried out from 1986 to 1994. Prompted by a request for technical support from the Pakistani government’s Planning Commission, IFPRI launched the Pakistan Strategy Support Program (PSSP) in 2011, a country-led and country-wide policy analysis and capacity strengthening program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Since 2012, the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets, led by IFPRI, has provided additional funding to the PSSP.

This brochure presents some of the highlights of IFPRI’s research, which has impacted Pakistani policies related to food rations and storage, energy subsidies, water management, poverty reduction, and other areas over the past 30 years.

Download the brochure

Optimal Groundwater Management in Pakistan’s Indus Water Basin

2016 January 15
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by Yifei Liu

PSSP Working Paper 034 "Optimal Groundwater Management in Pakistan’s Indus Water Basin" examines the long-run trends of groundwater depletion in Pakistan’s Indus Water Basin under common-pool resource management—the status quo—and under optimal management.  The study develops a dynamic optimization problem to illustrate long-run steady states of groundwater pumping under different management, hydrologic, economic, and tenure assumptions.  Whereas the focus of the previous study was on farm-level utilization and allocation of groundwater in Pakistan, this study emphasizes the sustainability of the aquifer of the Indus Water Basin under different groundwater management schemes.  The paper also provides an analysis of a set of policies that can lead to the optimal level of groundwater extractions and limit the overdraft of the aquifer underlying the Indus Basin.  The analysis helps to inform the larger discussion on the effective governance of water resources in the region.

Experimental Evidence on Public Good Behavior across Pakistan’s Fractured Educational System

2016 January 15
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by Yifei Liu

PSSP Working Paper 033 "Experimental Evidence on Public Good Behavior across Pakistan’s Fractured Educational System" adopts identity as a central concept to demonstrate how institutional and  economic environments forge identities and behavior, arguing that, own identity, but also the identity of the individuals we interact with shapes behavior. Exploiting the design of a public goods game, this study investigates how Pakistani university students from distinct education streams (Elite English-medium universities, public and private sector universities catering to middle and lower middle-income students, and madrassas) behave. The following questions are explored: (1) Does cooperative behavior differ across identity groups and class lines, (2) Does the propensity to punish vary across gender and class, and (3) Does the behavior vary within gender and social identity groups, where it is the college/university that forms the social identity group under investigation. The experiment aims to capture both the tendency to cooperate among different identity groups and also the tendency to punish. The student sample includes both male and female madrassa students, so the study is better able to explore both the social and gender dimensions of cooperative and penalizing behavior. The experimental results break down existing stereotypes by showing that both male and female madrassa students are the most generous. Female madrassa students also punish the least. Moreover, the study finds more gender and social consciousness in men than women when deciding to penalize or not. Male madrassa students penalize female students more than other male students, while elite male students penalize female students less than male students in the other two identity groups, suggesting hostility towards women diminishes in higher income groups. With respect to male elite students, it is observed that they penalize madrassa students more heavily than fellow elite students. This suggests the presence of spite among the elite boys towards high contributors.

Poverty alleviation linked with agri sector growth

2015 December 9
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by Yifei Liu

This article was originally published on Pakissan website.  

Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said on Tuesday that agriculture sector, the lifeline of Pakistan’s economy that employs nearly half of the work force, is ingrained with inherent constraints making it less productive.

Unfortunately the sector has been neglected for long, he said while addressing a policy seminar on “Agriculture Growth and Poverty Reduction in Pakistan; Role of Small Commercial Farmers.” The Minister further added there is a strong connection between agricultural growth and poverty reduction.

The size of operational land holdings is shrinking day by day whereas population and rural poverty are on the rise, he said adding, “We need to realize and address all these constraints at the earliest.” The Minister highlighted that for the first time in history, direct compensation was being provided to the farmers.

Kissan Package worth Rs 341 billion comprises four segments; financial support to farmers, cost reduction of produce, provision of agricultural loans and simplifying the loan acquisition.

Prominent support measures include provision of Rs 5000 per acre to farmers having land up to 12.5 acres for rice and cotton growers, reduction in mark-up rate for rice and cotton growers by 2 percent, tax exemption for solar tube well installation and increase in production index units (PIU) of agricultural land from Rs 2000 to Rs 4000.

The minister reiterated that food security is one of the priority areas defined in Pakistan Vision 2025.

The Prime Minister has approved the constitution of Federal Food Safety Regulatory Body designated with the task to bring exports up to international standards of quality in accordance with WTO stipulation.

The seminar was conducted in collaboration between USAID, IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute), Pakistan Strategy Support Program (PSSP) and Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Prof Sohail Jehangir Malik presented the findings of his research.

He highlighted that majority of the farmers hold less than 5 acres of land.

He classified farmers holding land between 3 acres to 75 acres as Small Commercial Farmer.

The researcher stressed that this small commercial farmer must be the focus of attention during policy making in order to promote and protect agriculture sector. Market imperfections and agriculture constraints need to be addressed in order to ensure food security.

The Pakistan Society of Development Economists (PSDE) 31st Annual General Meeting and Conference

2015 December 1
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by Yifei Liu

This event information is cross posted from IFPRI website.

The Pakistan Society of Development Economists (PSDE) 31st Annual General Meeting and Conference

Vision 2025: Effective Strategies for Transformational Growth
DEC 17, 2015 - 09:00 AM UTC TO DEC 19, 2015 - 05:00 PM UTC

The Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Pakistan Society of Development Economists (PSDE) provides an important forum for economic professionals, policymakers, businessmen, and various schools of interested observers to debate development issues. The objective of this conference is to provide a forum and a platform to academics and policy-makers for an exchange of ideas on the pressing economic and social problems facing Pakistan.

The sub-themes for the 31st AGM and Conference are:
1.    Putting People First: Developing Human and Social Capital
2.    Achieving Sustained, Indigenous and Inclusive Growth
3.    Governance, Institutional Reform & Modernization of the Public Sector
4.    Energy, Water & Food Security
5.    Private Sector-Led Growth and Entrepreneurship
6.    Developing a Competitive Knowledge Economy through Value Addition
7.   Modernization of Transportation Infrastructure & Greater Regional Connectivity

Shenggen Fan will be speaking as a panelist on Thursday, December 17, 11:30am-1:00pm (1:30-3am EST time) on the topic “Productive Led Growth and Development."

A Disaggregated Analysis of Productivity and Growth for Pakistan’s Large Scale Manufacturing Sector

2015 November 17
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by Yifei Liu

PSSP Working Paper 032, “A Disaggregated Analysis of Productivity and Growth for Pakistan’s Large Scale Manufacturing Sector”, computes Total Factor Productivity (TFP) growth for Pakistan’s large scale manufacturing (LSM) sector for each five year period from 1970-71 to 2005-06. It covers LSM activity according to the 2 digit Pakistan Standard Industrial Classification (PSIC) 2007. The ‘Two Deflator Growth Accounting Framework’ is employed in the study to compute the sources of value added (VA) growth in the LSM sector, along with the ‘Sunrise-Sunset Approach’ for determining the concentration pattern of TFP within VA growth. This study aims to fill the gap of research on the issue of productivity measurement at the disaggregated level. Results show TFP contributed positively in all the study periods except for the most destabilized period of the nineties, and while analyzing the results of TFP growth for the 16 LSM subsectors, no evidence was found for the persistency of any particular subsector in attaining the highest TFP growth. Furthermore, in determining the concentration of TFP among various subsectors, it was found that only a small proportion of subsectors accounted for achieving the aggregate TFP growth for the whole LSM sector. The study thus describes the important role played by negatively productive subsectors in reducing the overall performance of the LSM sector. The contribution of physical capital is found to be the major source of VA growth throughout the study period, a result consistent with previous studies, while the contribution of labor to VA growth is found to be lowest and needs the special attention of policy makers.

Technological Opportunity, Regulatory Uncertainty, and Bt Cotton in Pakistan

2015 July 27
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Genetically modified, insect-resistant Bt cotton has been adopted extensively across Pakistan’s cotton-growing regions during the past decade, and prior studies have linked Bt cotton adoption to both reductions in on-farm production costs and increases in cotton yields. However, studies also suggest that there is much confusion in the market for Bt cotton seed, stemming largely from weak regulation and the dissemination of seed of unknown quality to farmers. The persistence of uncertainty in Pakistan’s market for Bt cotton seed may have consequences for cotton production, rural livelihoods, and Pakistan’s wider economy.

A recent journal article written by PSSP researchers aims to shed new light on Bt cotton in Pakistan. First, the article explores the technological, economic, and institutional aspects to Bt cotton, the history of its introduction in Pakistan, and the controversy that has accompanied it during the past decade. Second, the article characterizes cotton-producing households across several dimensions using household survey data collected in 2012. Third, the article examines areas for further policy-relevant research that could improve the capacity of cotton-producing households in Pakistan to realize greater benefits from Bt cotton cultivation.

The Effects of Political Competition on Rural Land: Evidence from Pakistan

2015 July 27
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by Yifei Liu

Can more vigorous political competition significantly raise rural land values, or contribute to more robust land rental markets? Exploiting exogenous variation in the national popularity of Pakistan’s political parties during the 2008 elections, IFPRI discussion paper "The Effects of Political Competition on Rural Land: Evidence from Pakistan" shows that provincial assembly constituencies with greater competition between political parties had significantly higher land values and more active land rental markets four years later. A standard deviation decrease in a Herfindahl–Hirschman Index (HHI) of political concentration is associated with a 36 percent increase in land values, an 8 percentage point increase in the share of landowners renting out land, and an additional 4 percentage points of each landowner’s land being rented out. Land values appear to increase most among the poorest households, suggesting that benefits are greatest for those with the fewest resources to influence policy. Exploring potential causal mechanisms, we show that political competition leads to more stable and business friendly governance and institutions, better amenities, and greater provision of publicly provided goods. The effect of political competition on security is ambiguous, suggesting that political competition may decrease security along some dimensions and increase it along others.

The Fifth Research Competitive Grants Conference

2015 July 9
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by Yifei Liu

The Competitive Grants Program of the Pakistan Strategy Support Program recently held the Fifth Research Competitive Grants Conference in two parts, with the first part being held in Islamabad, May 16-17, and the second part in Lahore, May 21-22. The third round of the CGP grants were awarded in June 2014. At the conference, 35 researchers presented their interim research reports to receive constructive feedback at this vital point in the project timeline. Many research assistants and co-investigators of the projects also participated in the conference.

The projects awarded through the Competitive Grants Program span across a wide spectrum of topics. Research areas focus on the primary development objectives as laid out by the Government of Pakistan’s Vision 2025. Illustrative topics from the 35 projects include evaluation of the impacts of alternative aggregate public infrastructure investments, rural livelihood diversification, and investments in public and private schools, demand side energy modeling, and assessments of the determinants of entrepreneurship and Pakistan’s estimated trade performance. Additionally, five selected projects from the second round of the CGP (selected from the 19 awarded in February 2013) presented the results from their final reports.

In attendance at the conference were a variety of key stakeholders, including representatives of the Planning Commission of Pakistan, USAID, and distinguished session chairs. This provided a great opportunity for the presenters, and all the researchers present, to interact with  policy makers and get comments on how their projects could be improved and better target real outcomes.