Data Collection for Nigerian Partnership for Education Project

Nigeria_projectThe Nigerian Partnership for Education Project (NIPEP) aims to improve access to and quality of primary education in five states in Northern Nigeria. The baseline data collection for the evaluation of the project took place between June and August 2018 in Sokoto State and was accompanied by Ann-Charline Weber, Lisa Bogler, and Sebastian Vollmer in cooperation with a team from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, in Nigeria. Read more.

Randomized controlled field experiment in urban slums of Pune, India

Pune_Project_2 The Chair of Development Economics is conducting a new randomized controlled field experiment in urban slums of Pune, India. The experiment evaluates the impact of a portable "soft" commitment device and assesses the savings potential in temptation good (e.g. alcohol, tobacco) expenditures among people who live in or close to poverty. The trial is implemented and managed by Aditi Kuber, Kay Tuschen, Dr. Janina Steinert, Aishwarya Joshi, and Abhijeet Kumar. Read more.

Latest Thinking ( What is the Global Economic Burden of Diabetes

New Blog Post Online: How psychosocial interventions can help with money management

BlogVoxDev Financial literacy is known to be one of the biggest constraints to people in poverty handling their budgets. A new study with the involvement of Janina Steinert and Prof. Sebastian Vollmer reveals that psychosocial factors matter more in this regard than previous research had shown. In an RCT, they tested a combined financial literacy and parenting programme for families in South Africa. Findings indicate that the combination of financial and psychosocial components resulted in higher saving and an improved general economic wellbeing. Read more.

Summer School on Global Health and Poverty

school390During a two-week program, exceptional students from all over the world came to Göttingen to work on Global Health and Poverty. Hosted by the CeMIS, the Chair for Development Economics, and Göttingen’s Shortterm Programs, this Summer School provided international Master’s and PhD students the opportunity to discuss and learn about important issues on the epidemiological transition, infectious diseases, and global health systems. Internationally renowned lecturers – such as Barry Bloom, former Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health – shared their knowledge on today’s most pressing challenges of the field. Read more.

Putting Noncommunicable Diseases on the Agenda - HPACC Workshop on Access to Care

WorkshopToday, approximately 2 out of every 3 deaths globally are attributable to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), equivalent to 71% of all deaths. Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.9 million people annually, followed by cancers (9.0 million), respiratory diseases (3.9 million), and diabetes (1.6 million). Changing patterns of population age distributions and causes of death are at the forefront of discussions on global development and require the reordering of healthcare priorities. Read more.

Improving Children Health and Cognition: Evidence from School-Based Nutrition Intervention in India

Salt_IndiaWe present experimental evidence on the impact of delivering double-fortified salt (DFS), salt fortified with iron and iodine, through the Indian school-feeding program called “mid-day meal” on anemia, cognition, and math and reading outcomes of primary school children. We conducted a field experiment that randomly provided a one-year supply of DFS at a subsidized price to public primary schools in one of the poorest regions of India. The DFS treatment had significantly positive impacts on hemoglobin levels and reduced the prevalence of any form of anemia by 20 percent but these health gains did not translate into statistically significant impacts on cognition and test scores. While exploring the heterogeneity in effects, we find that treatment had statistically significant gains in anemia and test scores among children with higher treatment compliance. We further estimate that the intervention was very cost effective and can potentially be scaled up rather easily. Read more.

New Publication on Cardiovascular Disease Risk in India

CVDCardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality in India; yet little information is known about the variation of risk among India’s states and sociodemographic groups. Our study aimed to close this knowledge gap by evaluating data from 2 large household surveys conducted between 2012 and 2014. A team of international researchers, including Professor Sebastian Vollmer and Michaela Theilmann, pooled data from almost 800,000 participants (aged 30-74) across 27 states and 5 union territories in India. The data was analyzed using the predicted 10-year risk of a CVD event and disaggregated by examining the geographic and sociodemographic variation of the risk factors: BMI, high blood glucose, systolic BP, and smoking. Cardiovascular disease risk varied from 13.2% (95% CI: 12.7%–13.6%) in Jharkhand to 19.5% (95% CI: 19.1%–19.9%) in Kerala. Read more.

Christian Bommer, Esther Heesemann, Vera Sagalova and Prof. Sebastian Vollmer receive Science Award of the German Society of Health Economics

Bommer_dggoe We congratulate Christian Bommer, Esther Heesemann, Vera Sagalova and Prof. Sebastian Vollmer from the Development Economics group at CeMIS. They received the Science Award of the German Society of Health Economics at the annual meeting on March 5th. They received the prize for their article on "The Global Economic Burden of Diabetes: A Cost-of-Illness Study”, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology in 2017. In the article, they estimate that diabetes treatment as well as diabetes related production losses account for $US1.3 trillion globally, equivalent to 1.8 percent of global GDP. Christian Bommer, Esther Heesemann and Vera Sagalova have already been awarded with the University of Göttingen's Foundation Council Award for "Herausragende Nachwuchspublikation" ("Outstanding Publication by Junior Researchers") for the same article by the end of 2017. For further information and a link to the article, see the press release here.

Press release: High rates of diabetes and hypertension found in India

Diabetes India(pug) Rates of diabetes and hypertension are high among middle-aged and elderly people across all geographic measures and sociodemographic groups in India. This is the result of the first nationally representative study of those conditions in the country, presented by an international team of researchers from Harvard University, the University of Göttingen and the Heidelberg University Hospital. The researchers also found unexpectedly high rates of hypertension among young adults. The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Read more.

Summer School "Global Health and Poverty" in Göttingen

From 28 May to 8 June 2018, the University of Göttingen will welcome up to 20 advanced international students (Masters or PhD level) working in global health or development economics for the "Global Health and Poverty" summer school. Organised by CeMIS/ Department of Economics Professor Sebastian Vollmer, the school will address the central health challenges of the world today, focusing particularly on their many intersections with poverty. To do this, participants will look at the complex interplay of a person’s health status and economic prosperity or deprivation in the context of low- and middle-income countries.
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Project on Access to Care for Cardiometabolic Diseases (HPACC)

HPACC team klein_formatApproximately 2 out of every 3 deaths globally are attributable to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, about 80% in low- and middle-income countries. Catastrophic household expenditures on treatment and lost productivity from these diseases have brought them to the forefront of discussions on global development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet major research gaps remain.
The GHP Project on Access to Care for Cardiometabolic Diseases (HPACC) is a collaboration of researchers from Harvard University, the University of Göttingen and the University of Heidelberg. The project was officially launched on December 12, 2017 at the Harvard University Loeb House in Cambridge. Students, researchers, health care professionals, and faculty from numerous institutions around Boston – Boston University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Partners in Health – and from Göttingen and Heidelberg attended.
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3ie Impact Evaluation Report for Gram Varta Available

Gram Varta completedThe Gram Varta programme aims to improve women and child health indicators in Bihar, India through community empowerment and behavioural change. The study utilized a randomized control design of 180 villages and conducted survey research in 6,000 households in about 90 villages pre and post- implementation of Gram Varta. Results from the impact evaluation found some evidence that Gram Varta increased women’s involvement in the community, heightened their self-confidence to refuse intercourse with their husbands or demand that they use protection, reduced domestic violence, decreased women’s preference for sons, encouraged optimism for pregnant women and their mindfulness of health needs during pregnancy, and lastly, increased mutual trust within the community. Although consistent evidence for improvements in health indicators was not found, the findings highlight the importance of participatory learning approaches and their potential to empower women.
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Monks, Gents and Industrialists: The Long-Run Impact of the Dissolution of the English Monasteries

Monks-PaperWe examine the long-run economic impact of the Dissolution of the English monasteries in 1535, which is plausibly linked to the commercialization of agriculture and the location of the Industrial Revolution. Using monastic income at the parish level as our explanatory variable, we show that parishes which the Dissolution impacted more had more textile mills and employed a greater share of population outside agriculture, had more gentry and agricultural patent holders, and were more likely to be enclosed. Our results extend Tawney's famous ‘rise of the gentry’ thesis by linking social change to the Industrial Revolution. Link to NBER working paper / Link to VOX column
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PhD student Lisa Bogler wins prize as outstanding economics graduate

Lisa_Sartorius_PrizeLisa Bogler was awarded the "Florenz Satorius Preis" as an outstanding graduate student in Economics at the University of Göttingen on October 20. Ms Bogler completed her MA thesis, Evaluation of Gram Varta in Madhepura, India, regarding HNWASH knowledge and practices, earlier this year. The Development Economics/CeMIS PhD student is now working on health economics, with a focus on Indonesia. The prizes, which were donated by the Sartorius AG in Göttingen, were also awarded to outstanding graduates from Business Administration, Business Information Systems, and Business and Human Resource Education.
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Levels and trends of childhood undernutrition by wealth and education according to a Composite Index of Anthropometric Failure: evidence from 146 Demographic and Health Surveys from 39 countries

InequalityChildhood undernutrition is linked to 45% of all child deaths and is connected to lower adult height, lower educational achievement, and lower economic productivity later in life. The severity of childhood undernutrition is emphasized in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the global target to reduce stunting and wasting in children under five years of age by 2025. There is a growing recognition that nutrition can play a key role in promoting and achieving many of the SDGs, as malnutrition not only derives from a lack of sufficient and adequately nutritious and safe food, but from a host of interacting processes linking health care, education, hygiene and sanitation, access to resources, and more.
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Launch of Lancet Commission on Diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa

Diabetes In 2014, The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology Commission on Diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa convened a team of academics, clinicians, economists, and people who work in governmental and non-governmental organisations to identify targets and milestones for diabetes, and ways of strengthening health systems in sub-Saharan Africa to make cost-effective intervention possible. As part of this team, Prof. Dr. Sebastian Vollmer, Christian Bommer, Esther Heesemann and Vera Sagalova from Göttingen University have contributed to the Commission's work from a health economics point of view. The findings of the Commission are summarized in a peer-reviewed scientific report published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
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Implementation of cognitive stimulation and iron fortification for newborns in India

Gram Varta 2 The early childhood development project aims to identify cost-effective solutions to foster cognitive, socio-emotional, and motor and language development for children less than 2 years of age in a low-income setting. The project focuses on two major challenges of early childhood development, specifically lack of cognitive stimulation and malnutrition. To evaluate cognitive stimulation, caregivers of young children were given a four-session book sharing training that was developed by the Mikhulu Trust ( To address malnutrition, we distributed iron ingots called the Lucky Iron Leaf™ that can be used as a cooking utensil to iron fortify prepared food. The Lucky Iron Leaf™ is the Indian adaptation of the Lucky Iron Fish™, (, which was developed by researchers at the University of Guelph, Canada.
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Economic burden from diabetes: International team of scientists calculate costs of $1.3 trillion

Diabetes(pug) The WHO 2016 Global Report on Diabetes estimates that over 420 million adults are living with diabetes. The growing prevalence of diabetes, specifically in low- and middle-income countries, reveals the massive shifts in health trends since the 1990s. In cooperation with an international team of scientists, economists Christian Bommer, Esther Heesemann, Vera Sagalova and Prof. Sebastian Vollmer from the University of Göttingen have calculated that in 2015 the worldwide economic burden of diabetes reached $1.3 trillion or 1.8 percent of the global GDP. The results of the study are published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. Link to article
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Evaluation of the impact of a new general hospital in Managua, Nicaragua

Hospital Premature Unit In developing countries, high population growth and rural-urban migration put considerable pressure on existing urban health infrastructure and human resources. Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, for the first time in 32 years is building a new general hospital. The Nicaraguan government, the Inter-America Development Bank, and the government of the Netherlands are providing the funding for this infrastructure project. The new hospital is projected to attend to about 1,000 patients per day and is expected to relieve some of the pressure on resources across all levels of the city's health system. The research will carefully take into account spillover effects at other hospitals, as well as at the lower level health facilities, such as health posts and health centers. Of all population groups, the new hospital is likely to especially benefit pregnant women and newborns, as there is currently only one hospital dedicated to support their needs. The impact evaluation will pay special attention to pregnancy and birth outcomes.
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Evaluating the Impact of Safe Childbirth Checklists on the Quality of Care and Birth Outcomes in (Public) Health Facilities

Indonesia_1 Despite a global commitment and remarkable achievements to improve maternal and neonatal mortality, 800 women and 7700 newborns die each day from complications during pregnancy, childbirth, and in the postnatal period. In efforts to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a Safe Childbirth Checklist (SCC) to support the delivery of essential maternal and perinatal care practices and address the major causes of maternal and neonatal deaths. The checklist is a simple tool to help health-care workers provide high quality care during birth- from the time the woman is admitted, through childbirth, until the woman and baby are safely discharged. The SCC is currently being implemented in several countries, such as India, Pakistan and Indonesia.
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The association of parental education with childhood undernutrition in low- and middle-income countries: comparing the role of paternal and maternal education

Stunting A team comprising Sebastian Vollmer, Christian Bommer, Aditi Krishna, Kenneth Harttgen and SV Subramanian systematically investigated the differences in maternal and paternal education and their association with childhood undernutrition. Using 180 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) from 62 countries, and covering the years 1990 to 2014, they show that both higher maternal and paternal education levels are associated with lower childhood undernutrition with maternal education being the stronger determinant in specifications failing to adjust for household wealth and local area characteristics. However, when these controls are introduced, the observed differences are strongly weakened or disappear entirely. The findings suggest that paternal education is also an important factor for reducing childhood undernutrition and should therefore receive increased attention in the literature.
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Development Economics Conference - Göttinger Schule

Klasen and Sen From June 23rd - 24th more than 150 development economists from all over the world gathered in Göttingen to celebrate the 50th birthday of Professor Dr. Stephan Klasen. The celebration was a two-day conference that covered a broad range of topics in development economics such as gender, education, and agriculture. All of Klasen's former and current PhD students, collaborators, and friends were invited to participate.
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Midline Survey of Gram Varta

Gram-Varta_Midline Exactly one year after the baseline survey, in the spring of 2016, the midline survey of the Gram Varta (GV) program began. The midline survey included 25% of the baseline population, which translated into roughly 1000 households from 45 randomly drawn villages. Prior to the midline survey, the baseline questionnaire was rigorously reviewed, discussed and adapted to insights gained during baseline. Emphasis was placed on the identification of baseline respondents to ensure the panel character of the survey. In each household the household head, a woman in reproductive age, and all adolescent girls were interviewed. Anthropometric data was taken from all household members. The midline questionnaire contained a Gram Varta subsection that was answered by all respondents in one household to assess the impact of Gram Varta.
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GIZ Project Pakistan

Pakistan_small Jointly with the "Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH" we are conducting a research project on the Safe Childbirth Checklist (SCC) in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan.We are part of the World Health Organization (WHO) SCC Collaboration Network within the Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health Project (RMNHP) implemented by the "Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH." Our team supports the rollout and evaluation of the SCC in public health facilities and among community midwives (CMWs) in the districts Nowshera and Haripur. In September 2016 we began the adaptation process of the pilot version of the checklist to the Pakistani context. The project is ongoing.
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Jun.-Prof. Dr. Sebastian Vollmer: 2015 KfW Development Bank Prize for Scientific Excellence

Vollmer_klein Format Jun.-Prof. Dr. Sebastian Vollmer, Chair of Development Economics ('Juniorprofessur'), has received the 2015 KfW Development Bank Prize for Scientific Excellence. The prize was jointly awarded to Sebastian Vollmer and Dr. Kenneth Harttgen (ETH Zürich) for the paper: "Association between economic growth and early childhood undernutrition: evidence from 121 Demographic and Health Surveys from 36 low-income and middle-income countries," published in The Lancet Global Health. The authors investigate the relationship between economic growth and childhood undernutrition. While it is a common belief that undernutrition improves in economic growth, the authors find that economic growth does not automatically equate to reductions in childhood undernutrition.
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Cara Ebert: 2014 H.K. Nieuwenhuis Thesis Award

Cara_Klein Format Cara Ebert, PhD candidate at the Chair of Development Economics ('Juniorprofessur'), has received the 2014 H.K. Nieuwenhuis Thesis Award for her master's thesis "Nature or Nurture: Evidence from Indonesia." The thesis disentangles factors in the intergenerational education persistence that are attributable to the genetic ability transmission from parents to their children (nature) from factors that are attributable to the family environmental background (nurture). While for advanced countries, the existing research shows that genetics determine the intergenerational education persistence; this work finds that it is family environmental factors that determine the children's educational success in Indonesia. The results suggest that in contexts where levels of education and child rearing standards are relatively low, an additional year of parental schooling is effective in improving nurturing skills and that intergenerational returns to education exist.
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Survey of community mobilisers and Anganwadi workers

Anganwadi_small The survey of community mobilizers and Anganwadi workers was conducted between September-October 2015. It was completed during the evaluation of the Gram Varta program
Anganwadi workers are women that provide basic public health care in Indian villages. Their work includes contraceptive counseling and supply, nutrition education, distributing supplementary food, and organizing pre-school activities. Anganwadi workers are important for the successful implementation of Gram Varta, as their work is likely to have a large effect on health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (HNWASH) indicators. Participating in Gram Varta meetings has the potential to increase Anganwadi workers knowledge and attitudes about HNWASH issues. Gram Varta aims to enhance the demand for and use of health services like the ones Anganwadi workers offer. These outcome indicators are monitored in the Anganwadi worker survey.
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Fact Finding Mission in Indonesia

Indonesia_small In May 2015 J.Prof. Vollmer, Jana Kuhnt, and Rivayani Darmawan conducted a fact-finding mission in Indonesia to elaborate on possible partners for their Safe Childbirth Checklist Project.
After visiting different Indonesian universities, the team decided to partner with the Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh. The project preparation is on-going and the implementation phase will start in February 2016.
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3ie Baseline Survey of Gram Varta

Gram-Varta_small Gram Varta is a development program that aims to enhance health knowledge and health behaviour regarding general health, nutrition, water, and sanitation and hygiene (HNWASH). The Gram Varta program was first launched in the Indian state of Bihar in 2011 as part of the Government of Bihar's Sector Wide Approach to Strengthen Health (SWASTH). In June 2015 the program was implemented in the Bihari district of Madhepura. The program is expected to last until July 2015. Using a participatory learning approach, health training meetings are held in local women?s self-help groups.
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Fact Finding Mission Cameroon

Cameroon_small Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing concern in today's society. In developing countries, where antibiotic stewardship is largely non-existent, this problem is particularly severe. In most developing countries there exist no guidelines for prescriptions, empirical treatment prevails, and patients can buy antibiotic medications over the counter. These mechanisms lead to excessive and often incorrect uses of antibiotics, which in turn promote AMR.
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Study on Impacts of Double Fortified Salt on Children's Cognitive Development

Double_Fortified_Salt Iron is considered an essential micronutrient for brain development, physical activity, and resistance against infections. It has been estimated that underdeveloped cognitive development due to iron deficiency is associated with a 5-10 points lower intelligence quotient (WHO/UNICEF/UNU, 2011). The provision of nutrition supplements and of micronutrient fortified foods are considered to be a promising means to break the micronutrient poverty trap. Whereas research on the biological relationship between fortified food and improvements in health is well established, the effectiveness of different distribution channels for fortified food has not yet extensively been studied.
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Association between economic growth and early childhood undernutrition: evidence from 121 Demographic and Health Surveys from 36 low-income and middle-income countries

Lancet_Paper Economic growth is widely regarded as a necessary and often sufficient condition for the improvement of population health. A recent study by Sebastian Vollmer, Kenneth Harttgen, Malavika A Subramanyam, Jocelyn Finlay, Stephan Klasen and S. V. Subramanian assessed whether macroeconomic growth is associated with reductions in early childhood undernutrition in low-income and middle-income countries. They analyzed data from the Demographic and Health Surveys Program (DHS), specifically focusing on 121 completed surveys on population health from 36 countries. The outcome variables were stunting, underweight, and wasting and the main independent variable was per-head gross domestic product (GDP). A quantitatively very small to null association was observed between increases in per-head GDP and reductions in early childhood under nutrition. The findings emphasize the need for direct health investments to improve the nutritional status of children in low-income and middle-income countries. Link to article

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