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.

2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011
Not by land nor by sea: the rise of formal remittances during COVID-19
Not by land nor by sea: the rise of formal remittances during COVID-19
10–11am 13 April 2021
Dr Lelys Dinarte

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Despite record unemployment in remittance-sending economies, formal remittances to several developing countries grew since the beginning of the pandemic. Such an increase may reflect a shift from informal to formal channels, rather than an increase in total remittances. This is because the mobility constraints that prevented travelers from carrying cash across borders made electronic wire transfers the only option to remit. Using a rich municipality-level data set of formal remittance inflows and location patterns of migrants to the United States for Mexico, we find that the rise in formal remittances was largely driven by municipalities closer to a border crossing and mostly originated from US states along the border. This is consistent with migrants born in the Northern areas of Mexico living in US areas closer to their families, such that the cost of sending informal remittances is usually very low, but it largely increased after COVID-19. Along this line, we find a large and disproportionate increase in the number of new accounts at financial institutions among municipalities near a border crossing since the implementation of lockdown measures. We rule out alternative hypotheses, such as the role of the CARES Act and increasing remittance flows to municipalities worst hit by the crisis.

Read the full paper here.

Speaker

Dr Lelys Dinarte is an Economist in the Human Development Team of the World Bank’s Development Research Group. Her research interests are on education, with a focus on violence and crime. She obtained her PhD and Master in Economics from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in 2018 and her B.A. in Economics from ESEN in El Salvador in 2010.

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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Photo by Chris Johnson on Flickr
Pacific Migration Research Workshop
9am–5pm 17 June 2021
Various speakers

The ANU Development Policy Centre hosted a one-day workshop with research papers presented for discussion with an audience of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners.

Presentations and papers

Welcome remarks
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Fiona Yap, Interim Director, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University

Julien Barbara, Head of Department of Pacific Affairs, Australian National University

Panel 1: Future labour demand and skills

Chair: Gabriela D’Souza, Senior Economist, Centre for Economic Development of Australia

Labour mobility with vocational skill: Australian demand and Pacific supply
Michael Clemens, Center for Global Development and IZA & Satish Chand, University of New South Wales
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Identifying the demand for middle-skill occupations in Fiji
Richard Curtain, Australian National University
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Vocational qualification supply, demand, and returns: the case of the Australia Pacific Training Coalition
Ryan Edwards & Tunye Qui, Australian National University
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Panel 2: Contemporary Pacific migration and impacts

Chair: Stephen Howes, Director, Development Policy Centre

COVID-19 border closures – impacts on Pacific seasonal worker wellbeing
Rochelle Bailey & Charlotte Bedford, Australian National University
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Pacific Labour Scheme: Preliminary examination into the implications and impacts of family accompaniment
Michelle Carnegie & Luke Jeffress, Pacific Labour Facility
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For the region yet to come: climate change and the decolonisation of mobility governance in the Pacific
Samid Suliman, Griffith University
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Panel 3: Pasifika diaspora and wellbeing

Chair: Gemma Malungahu, Research Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, Australian National University

Fiscal and non-fiscal ideas of responsibility amongst Samoan diaspora in Greater Brisbane
Laura Simpson Reeves, University of Queensland
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Impact of PAC policy on Pacific women’s health and wellbeing: The experiences of Kiribati migrants
Rose Namoori-Sinclair, Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington
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Pasifika trans-Tasman migration, mobility and wellbeing
Ruth Faleolo, La Trobe University
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Panel 4: Pasifika diaspora and wellbeing (cont.)

Chair: Gemma Malungahu, Research Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, Australian National University

The production of precariousness and the racialisation of Pacific workers in the Australian horticultural industry
Makiko Nishitani, Martina Boese & Helen Lee, La Trobe University
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Problematising criminal deportation and reintegration in the Pacific
Henrietta McNeill, Australian National University
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Closing remarks
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Nigel Bruce, A/g Assistant Secretary, Pacific Economic and Labour Mobility Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Ryan Edwards, Deputy Director and Fellow, Development Policy Centre, Australian National University

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Worsening employment outcomes for Pacific technical graduate job-seekers, and one possible solution
Worsening employment outcomes for Pacific technical graduate job-seekers, and one possible solution
12–1pm 10 March 2021
Dr Richard Curtain and Professor Stephen Howes

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The Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) is a major Australian government foreign aid initiative that commenced in 2008, that has spent over $350 million, and that has turned out over 15,000 graduates with Australian qualifications. Analysis of graduate tracer surveys in our recent Devpolicy Discussion Paper shows that employment outcomes for APTC graduates looking for a job (job-seekers) have worsened markedly over the last decade. Graduates from each of the seven Pacific countries for whom there is sufficient data show worsening outcomes over time. Employment outcomes have worsened in part because APTC has changed the composition of courses it offers towards qualifications with weaker employer demand, but mainly because of the falling demand for the trades and hospitality qualifications it has offered since inception. There are worse employment outcomes for female APTC job-seekers. Our analysis suggests that concerns about brain drain are overblown. We suggest the APTC adopt a greater focus on promoting international migration opportunities to improve employment outcomes for their graduates, a more demand-led approach to student admission and course selection, and a review of the quality of graduates.

We also, in a related new Policy Brief propose one solution to the above problem, namely, helping APTC graduates to migrate to Australia under existing temporary skilled visas.

Speakers:

Dr Richard Curtain is a Research Fellow specialising in Pacific labour mobility. As a public policy consultant, he has worked on labour mobility on assignments related to the APTC, and in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste and Tonga. He is the co-author with colleagues at Devpolicy of a paper for the World Bank on Pacific Labour Mobility and organised a workshop at Devpolicy on this topic in June 2016. His PhD is from ANU on internal migration and urban unemployment in Papua New Guinea.

Professor Stephen Howes is Director of the Development Policy Centre. He has a PhD in economics from the London School of Economics. He served in various positions for a decade at the World Bank before becoming AusAID’s first Chief Economist in 2005. He is now Professor of Economics at the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU.

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Change and continuity in Australian aid: what the aid flows show
12–1pm 24 February 2021
Dr Terence Wood

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Dr Terence Wood presented the recently published report that examines the changing nature of Australian government aid through the lens of publicly available data on aid flows, which provide evidence of change and allow direct comparisons between Australia and other OECD Development Assistance Committee donors. These comparisons help highlight where Australian aid conforms with international norms of good giving, where Australia lags behind the global community, and where it is a global leader.

Key findings include: a striking fall in aid generosity over time; very limited use of aid to support climate change adaptation; a strong focus on gender and women’s empowerment; and good practice in limiting aid fragmentation across countries.

Read the full report here, and the executive summary here.

Speaker

Dr Terence Wood is a Research Fellow at the Development Policy Centre. Terence’s research focuses on the domestic political economy of aid in donor countries, public opinion about aid, NGOs, aid effectiveness in poorly-governed states, and Melanesian electoral politics. Prior to commencing PhD study Terence worked for the New Zealand Government Aid Program.

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Timor-Leste: 2021 economic survey
Timor-Leste: 2021 economic survey
12–1pm 10 February 2021
Charles Scheiner

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In 2002, Timor-Leste emerged from centuries of autocratic foreign rule and violent Indonesian occupation. Its people have created a peaceful society and democratic government under the rule of law. Economically, they have evolved from depending on foreign aid, through exporting oil and gas, to living off the returns from investing past non-renewable resource revenues. The economy and state treasury are among the most petroleum-export dependent in the world; many people live in poverty; and the non-oil economy is neglected. However, oil and gas revenues will end soon, and the sovereign wealth fund may only carry the country for another decade.

The parties in power have changed three times since 2017, and the current coalition was formed in May 2020. The government faces major challenges: economic diversification, the decline of oil revenues, continuing poverty and inequality, inadequate public services, and COVID-19. It is afflicted by the resource curse: approaching every problem by spending extractive assets, import dependency, lack of realistic planning, dismissing the productive economy, and neglecting the country’s people – its most valuable resource. Time is running out for decisions critical to the nation’s future.

This webinar explores today’s context and options, particularly in relation to the state budget, economy and the Tasi Mane petroleum infrastructure project.

Speaker

Charles Scheiner moved from the USA to Timor-Leste in 2001, becoming a researcher at La’o Hamutuk, the Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis, an independent, non-partisan, Timorese civil society research organization. He specializes on the effects of oil and gas extraction , including economics, governance, environment and revenue management. He has written and presented widely, while advocating for sustainable and equitable policies to realize the rights of all people in the 18-year-old nation.

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