Agenda (2013)

Global Empowerment Meeting: Trillion Dollar Ideas

Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Loeb House at Harvard University
17 Quincy St. Cambridge, MA
T: 617.495.5758

Updated with presentation slides

Download Agenda PDF

Time Event/Speakers
4:00 - 4:30pm Registration
4:30 - 4:45pm Welcome Remarks

David Elwood - Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School, Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy at the Harvard Kennedy School
4:45 - 5:40pm

Keynote Speaker

The Stories Behind Behavioral Economics

Richard Thaler - Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago; Author of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

6:00 - 7:00pm Cocktail Reception
7:00 - 9:00pm Dinner/Book Launch

Scarcity, Why Having Too Little Means So Much

A surprising examination of how scarcity - and our flawed responses to it - shapes our lives, our society, and our culture. Cutting-edge research from behavioral science and economics shows that scarcity generates a similar psychological reaction for everyone struggling to manage with less than they need. The dynamics of scarcity reveal why dieters find it hard to resist temptation, why students mismanage their time and why sugarcane farmers are smarter after the harvest than before. Once we start thinking in terms of scarcity and the strategies it imposes, the problems of modern life come into sharper focus. Scarcity provides a new way of understanding why the poor stay poor and reveals not only how scarcity leads us astray, but also how individuals and organizations can better manage scarcity for greater satisfaction and success.

Sendhil Mullainathan - Professor of Economics at Harvard University; Assistant Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, United States Department of the Treasury

Read more about Sendhil's research:

Escaping the Cycle of Scarcity

The Mental Strain of Making Do with Less

Thursday, October 17, 2013
Taubman Building, HKS, 5th Floor
79 JFK St. Cambridge, MA.
T: 617.784.3857

Time Event/Speakers
7:30 - 8:30am Breakfast
8:30 - 10:30am

Session: Harnessing Know-How

We have shown that what an economy produces determines its wealth. And what it produces depends on what it knows how to make. Knowledge needs to be accumulated, aggregated and integrated among individuals, firms, locations and societies in order to transform it into products, and consequently generate economic growth. Knowledge exists within all these levels: individuals translate their skills into tasks, firms translate the skills of its employees into products, and cities combine these products into value chains that generate wealth. But knowledge operates in a tacit way, making it difficult to understand and replicate. In this session we will explore how knowledge operates and how we can harness this amorphous power to help societies prosper.

Presented & Moderated by:

Ricardo Hausmann - Director, Center for International Development at Harvard University; Professor of the Practice of Economic Development, Harvard Kennedy School; George Cowan Professor at the Santa Fe Institute [Presentation slides]

Presented by:

Robert Boyd - Professor at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change Arizona State University [Presentation slides]

David Bojanini - President & CEO of Sura Group [Presentation slides]

Karim Lakhani - Lumry Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and Principal Investigator of the Harvard-NASA Tournament Lab
10:30 - 11:00am Coffee Break
10:45 - 11:00am

Feature: The Atlas of Economic Complexity

A brief presentation of The Atlas, its new features and the questions it can help answer.

Marcela Escobari - Executive Director of the Center for International Development at Harvard University [Presentation slides]
11:00 - 12:30pm

Session: Dangerous Ideas and the Seduction of the Kinky: Does "a Dollar a Day" Really Define Development

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) outline a distorted vision of "development," targeting low bar goals for a few indicators: the poverty agenda is defined by a "dollar a day," the education agenda by primary school completion, the health agenda by a few conquered diseases. All worthy, but limited aspirations. The culmination of the existing MDGs in 2015 creates the opportunity to articulate a new vision for "development" and improved ways to measure progress, so that development remains relevant in a world of emerging low and middle income countries and growing middle classes.

Moderated by:

Vuk Jeremic - President of the General Assembly of the UN

Presented by:

Nancy Birdsall - Founding President of the Center for Global Development [Presentation slides]

Lant Pritchett - Professor of the Practice of International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School; Fellow of CID

Homi Kharas - Senior Fellow and Deputy Director for the Global Economy and Development Program at Brookings; Lead Author of the Secretariat supporting the High-Level Panel for the post-2015 development agenda
12:30 - 2:00pm

Lunch/Keynote Speaker

Larry Summers - President Emeritus of Harvard University; Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University

2:00 - 3:15pm Interactive Session: Innovation in Development

As society grapples with increasingly complex problems, the Innovation field has the potential to add a new way of thinking to catalyze systemic change. The Innovation field describes an interdisciplinary approach integrates sociology, economics, engineering, and ethnography — among other fields. In this session, world-renowned designers, researchers and strategists will share how they are turning to new approaches in design-thinking to create effective implementation frameworks that might solve society's increasing complex problems.

Moderated by:

Banny Banerjee - Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Director of the Stanford ChangeLabs

Presented by:

Anne Dorthe - COO of the Danish Design Center [Presentation slides]

Fawwaz Habbal - Senior Lecturer on Applied Physics, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University [Presentation slides]

Nabil Harfoush - Assistant Professor of Strategic Foresight & Innovation Program at OCAD. Director of the Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) [Presentation slides]

3:15 - 4:00pm Interactive Session led by: Banny Banerjee - Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Director of the Stanford ChangeLabs
4:00 - 4:15pm Coffee Break
4:15 - 5:00pm

Discussion: Shaping Beliefs and Culture

To what extent is socio-economic development in societies influenced by cultural traits, such as individual values and beliefs? Are such behavioral factors determined primarily by persistent historical forces, or can they be altered and shaped in the short-run as well? This session explores cutting-edge research ranging from examining the historical roots of cultural norms, to an examination of how religious beliefs and political experiences can have profound impacts on individual and group decision-making. The session will offer insights into whether beliefs and culture matter, and the extent to which they can be influenced by policies.

Presented by:
Asim Khwaja - Sumitomo-Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development Professor of International Finance and Development at the Harvard Kennedy School

Nathan Nunn - Professor of Economics at Harvard University

David Yanagizawa-Drott - Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School

[Group Presentation slides]

5:00pm - 5:30pm

TED Style Presentation: Dawn or Dusk? Envisaging the aftermath of today’s global economic conundrum by looking at the past

How do we make sense of the current economic situation from a historical perspective: are we re-visiting the 1970s when rich countries stagnated in an economic morass, while natural resource exporters boomed? And what is to come: will our era be followed by a decade like the 1980s, when developed countries rebounded and natural resource economies collapsed? Or, are there other historical parallels more enlightening for today’s context?

Presented by:

Niall Ferguson - Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University; Author of "The West and The Rest" [Presentation slides]

5:30 - 6:00pm Book Launch: The Limits of Institutional Reform

Developing countries commonly adopt reforms to improve their governments yet they usually fail to produce more functional and effective governments. Matthew Andrews argues that reforms often fail to make governments better because they are introduced as signals to gain short-term support. These signals introduce unrealistic best practices that do not fit developing country contexts and are not considered relevant by implementing agents. The result is a set of new forms that do not function. However, there are realistic solutions emerging from institutional reforms in some developing countries. Lessons from these experiences suggest that reform limits, although challenging to adopt, can be overcome by focusing change on problem solving through an incremental process that involves multiple agents.

Presented by:

Matt Andrews - Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School [Presentation slides]

6:00pm Closing Remarks & Cocktail Reception