'75 Years of Research Development' conference at Cornell, May 7-9, features more than 100 international scholars

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ITHACA, N.Y. -- Cornell University's Ives Hall will resemble a World Bank convention center this week as more than 100 international experts arrive to discuss issues that range from the impact of the AIDS epidemic on poor countries to child labor and exchange rate crises in developing nations.

The colloquium, titled "75 Years of Research Development," will be held Friday, May 7, through Sunday, May 9, and features four keynote speakers of international repute: Abhijit Banerjee of MIT; Jean Ensminger of the California Institute of Technology; Steve Morris of Yale University; and Dani Rodrik of Harvard University. Many young scholars from developing nations also will present their papers alongside more celebrated colleagues in the field. The Program on Comparative Economic Development (PCED) at Cornell is hosting the event, and all talks are free and open to the public (with the exception of the dinner/lecture on Saturday evening, which is restricted to registered participants and special invitees).

Cornell President Jeffrey Lehman will provide opening remarks Friday, May 7, at 9:45 a.m. in Room 165 of McGraw Hall on campus. Lehman will be followed by Morris, whose talk is titled "Coordination, Crises and Development," and Banerjee, who will speak on "Modeling Credit Markets." Most of the remaining conference events will be held in Ives Hall.

Four panel discussions on economics, sociology and the law will be chaired by the following Cornell professors: Ravi Kanbur, applied economics and management, and economics; Erik Thorbecke, economics; Victor Nee, sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Economy and Society; and Annelise Riles, law and anthropology. Cornell presenters and panelists represent the Departments of Economics, Government and Sociology and the Division of Nutritional Sciences, among others. Participants include scholars from India, South Korea, Mexico, South Africa, Indonesia and the Congo.

Development studies is a general term for the multidisciplinary study of underdeveloped countries, with an emphasis on social and economic progress. One of the most important contributions to this field came from the work of economist Allyn Young, who was a Cornell professor when he wrote his seminal paper, "Increasing Rate Returns and Economic Progress," in 1928. Young died the next year at age 53.

"He developed the idea first articulated by Adam Smith in 1776 that the germs of economic progress lie in the ability of laborers to specialize," said Kaushik Basu, Cornell professor of economics and PCED director. "This, of course, is not possible unless one is producing large amounts of goods, and that will not happen until economic progress occurs. Hence, this idea also lies at the core of the subsequent research on the vicious cycle of poverty and poverty traps."

Sponsors for the conference include: the Program on Poverty, Inequality and Development, Center for Analytic Economics, Center for the Study of Economy and Society, Cornell Department of Economics, Program on Comparative Economic Development and the Social Adaptation and Decision Research project at Cornell and the Ford Foundation-Delhi. For more information about the event, contact Taylor Ware at (607) 255-9901 or by e-mail at dev75years-mailbox@cornell.edu .

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EDITORS: For a schedule of speakers and panel sessions for the conference, which begins Friday, May 7, visit this Web site: .