Past Events

This page provides a list of archived events we have held, including video recordings, related blogs, and (more recently) audio podcasts: Devpolicy Talks.

2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011
2020 aid budget breakfast
9–10am 7 October 2020
Professor Stephen Howes

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» view presentation
» read blog

Australia has entered recession for the first time in nearly 30 years. COVID-19 is not just hurting us, but developing countries and aid donors globally. In our neighbourhood, many Pacific economies are reeling from the drop in tourism and hit to jobs, while other countries are struggling to contain the pandemic itself. Some have faced a health and economic crisis on top of natural disasters and climate change impacts. Meanwhile, Australia’s aid budget has already sunk to historic lows as a percentage of Gross National Income after seven years of cuts.

The 2020 Aid Budget Breakfast was held on the morning of Wednesday 7 October where the Devpolicy team went through the numbers to find out what the future holds for Australia’s aid engagement.

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Pacific labour mobility and remittances in times of COVID-19
12–1pm 21 October 2020
Dr Dung Doan, Dr Kenia Parsons, Dr Kirstie Petrou and Dr Matthew Dornan

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» view presentation

International labour migration and the remittances it generates have long been an important source of employment and income for Pacific islanders, especially in times of adverse domestic shocks. Many low-skilled Pacific workers find seasonal employment in Australia and New Zealand, engaging primarily in agriculture sector jobs under the Seasonal Worker Programme and the Recognised Seasonal Employers scheme. The Pacific diaspora, concentrated in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, is also an important source of remittances to the region.

Migrant workers from both groups have been affected by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this webinar, the impacts of the crisis on employment outcomes of Pacific migrant workers and remittances to Pacific island countries were explored. The speakers presented findings from a recent World Bank phone survey of Pacific seasonal workers and their employers, and from phone-based interviews of Pacific diaspora groups in Australia and New Zealand.


Dr Dung Doan is an Economist at the World Bank, focusing on jobs and labor market issues in the Pacific region.

Dr Kenia Parsons is a Social Protection and Jobs Specialist at the World Bank.

Dr Kirstie Petrou is a research associate with the Climate and Sustainability Research Group at Flinders University, and a consultant with the World Bank’s Social Protection and Jobs team.

Dr Matthew Dornan is a Senior Economist at the World Bank.

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Medical worker migration and origin-country human capital: evidence from U.S. visa policy
Medical worker migration and origin-country human capital: evidence from U.S. visa policy
10–11am 23 September 2020
Dr Caroline Theoharides

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» view presentation

In this webinar, Dr Caroline Theoharides presents new research on the so-called brain drain for health workers using rich administrative data.

In this new paper joint with Dr Paolo Abarcar, she exploits changes in U.S. visa policies for nurses to measure brain drain versus gain. Combining data on all migrant departures and postsecondary institutions in the Philippines, they show that nursing enrollment and graduation increased substantially in response to greater U.S. demand for nurses. The supply of nursing programs expanded to accommodate this increase. Nurse quality, measured by licensure exam pass rates, declined. Despite this, for each nurse migrant, 10 additional nurses were licensed. New nurses switched from other degree types, but graduated at higher rates than they would have otherwise, thus increasing the human capital stock in the Philippines.

Dr Caroline Theoharides is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Amherst College. Her work centres on labour migration from developing countries to richer countries and the role of human capital investment, specifically investment in education, on labour market outcomes. Dr Theoharides holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Michigan.

Read the full paper here.

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Photo by Gail Hampshire on Flickr
COVID-19: economic costs and responses in the Pacific
12.30–2pm 19 August 2020
Professor Stephen Howes, Dr Jenny Gordon, Dr Neelesh Gounder and Maholopa Laveil

» watch the recording
» listen to the podcast
» view presentation by Stephen Howes
» view presentation by Jenny Gordon
» view presentation by Maholopa Laveil

The economic costs of COVID-19 continue to mount, globally and in the Pacific. But what is the damage in the Pacific, and how are Pacific governments responding? In this seminar, we explored the economic damage caused by COVID-19 and the responses Pacific governments are taking. Professor Stephen Howes presented an overview based on the Pacific Covid Economic Database the Development Policy Centre had put together. Dr Jenny Gordon, Chief Economist of DFAT, provided her assessment. Dr Neelesh Gounder and Mr Maholopa Laveil presented perspectives on Fiji and PNG, respectively.

Sadhana Sen, Regional Media Adviser, Development Policy Centre, ANU

Professor Stephen Howes, Director, Development Policy Centre, ANU

Dr Jenny Gordon, Chief Economist, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Dr Neelesh Gounder, Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of the South Pacific

Maholopa Laveil, Lecturer in Economics, University of Papua New Guinea

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Gender differences in social learning among Vanuatu cocoa growers
12–1pm 26 August 2020
Dr Alexandra Peralta

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» view presentation

In this webinar, Dr Alexandra Peralta presented a new study analysing social learning effects among men and women in cocoa-growing households in Vanuatu.

Dr Peralta finds that information network links are determined by proximity for both men and women. Separated gender analysis highlights wide gender gaps in access to information from peers and other information channels. The results robustly show learning effects among men but not among women, and that despite women and men participating almost equally in cocoa production and postharvest activities, women participated in fewer extension visits and less training activities. Women have fewer contacts within their information networks and scored lower than men in the knowledge test. Ignoring gender dynamics in the acquisition of information for the design and implementation of extension interventions can result in widening these gaps.

These results have implications for the design and implementation of gender-inclusive extension strategies.


Dr Alexandra Peralta is a Lecturer in Agricultural and Food Economics with The Centre for Global Food and Resources (CGFAR) at the University of Adelaide. She is a development economist with experience on impact evaluation, field experiments and farmer decision-making models. Her recent research focuses on the evaluation of the impact of development interventions in Indonesia and the Pacific.

Read Dr Peralta’s draft paper here. Please note that this is a draft only not for citing or further sharing.

This webinar was free and open to the public. It was recorded, and the recording will be made available soon through the Development Policy Centre website.

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Updated:  31 October 2020/Responsible Officer:  Devpolicy Admin/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team