The 2014 PEP Annual Conference in Bolivia - another successful gathering of development researchers and practicioners from 31 countries around the world

Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia - April 30 to May 8


2014 PEP Annual Conference - Inclusive Growth and Employment for Poverty Reduction


The 2014 PEP Annual Conference was held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia (April 30 to May 7) on the broad theme of "inclusive growth and employment in developing countries".The event was hosted and organized in collaboration with the Institute for Advanced Development Studies (INESAD - Instituto de Estudios Avanzados en Desarrollo) based in Bolivia (La Paz).

This year's event occurred at the heart of the current PEP research and capacity building program initiative for "Policy Analysis on Growth and Employment" (PAGE). The event was thus made possible with the financial support from the co-funders of the PAGE program, i.e. the UK Department for International Development (UK Aid) and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Once again, PEP succeeded in gathering quite a large and international attendance - of developing country researchers, international experts and development practitioners, policy advisors, etc. from 31 different countries - to discuss various research and policy issues related to the PAGE themes. 

The event featured three main set of activities: intensive training workshops, the PEP general meetings (i.e. presentation of research findings and new proposals), and a special high-level policy forum - all described below. Click here to find out more about the event's initial concept and objectives.

PEP general meetings - May 5-6

Presentation of new proposals and final reports for PAGE projects

The purposes of the PEP general meetings are:

  1. to complete evaluation and selection of project proposals contending for support in the current PEP research grant competition, or call for proposals. In this case, the call was launched in the fall of 2013, as the second funding round of the PAGE program.
  2. to present and discuss the research findings/outcomes from projects that were granted/supported under the previous round of funding (in this case, under the first funding round of the PAGE program).

The 2014 PEP general meetings featured a series of (3) parallel sessions (grouped according to different research methods/approaches) in which representatives from 33 research teams, from 21 developing countries, were invited to present and discuss their respective final reports (for projects funded under PAGE round 1) or new proposals (contending for funding under PAGE round 2) with an audience of peers and international experts.

Click here to find more information about those projects that were supported under the first funding round of the PAGE program. Note, however, that not all of these (PAGE round 1) projects were presented in Bolivia, as many have not yet completed the project cycle. Those, in particular, using the experimental approach of "randomized controlled trials" (RCTs), or "community-based monitoring systems" (CBMS), are carried out over a longer period (18 to 30 months) and have thus not yet yielded results.

PEP schools - April 30 to May 3

Advanced training in PEP research methods and tools

Preceding these general meetings (of May 5-6), PEP took advantage of such a gathering of developing country researchers to provide a series of (parallel) intensive training workshops - from April 30 to May 3 – in the different research methods, techniques and tools to be applied in the context of these projects. Specifically, training was provided in techniques related to:

Macro-micro policy simulations, using Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) models.
Trainers: Bernard Decaluwe, Helene Maisonnave, Erwin Corong and Martin Cicowiez
See workshop program

Micro-econometric techniques  and non-experimental impact evaluations
Trainers: Jorge Davalos and Guy Lacroix
See workshop program

Community-based monitoring systems
Trainers: Celia Reyes, Novee Lor Leyso, Randy Spence, Nancy Spence, Tomas Africa


"We have learned a great deal through the training provided by PEP, and we have also been motivated by PEP staff’s passion in local capacity building. We hope to extend this practice, of local capacity building, in Cambodia in the future. In addition to technical support, we also hope to gain from PEP’s experience in influencing policymakers, because Cambodian researchers have limited experience in doing that so far."

        Dyna Heng, CAMBODIA

Special CBMS events and engagement of local Bolivian governments - May 3 and 6

Taking advantage of our presence in the country, special events were organized to present the main outcomes and findings of a PEP-CBMS Bolivia project - that was supported under the first round of PAGE - to local government authorities.
Find out more about these special events through the following links:

May 3 - CBMS policy dialogue at the Municipality of Concepcion

May 6 - CBMS policy seminar at the Department of Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Special feature: Policy forum - May 7

"Fostering entrepreneurship for inclusive growth and poverty reduction"

The final and not least feature of the 2014 PEP annual conference was a high-level discussion panel on the specific theme of "fostering entrepreneurship for inclusive growth and poverty reduction". This Policy Forum was organized in collaboration with the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and also benefited from the support of other partners, namely INESAD, the local host institution, and CAF - the development bank of Latin America. Find out more about the outcomes of this specific event.

Opening remarks by representatives of the main institutions involved (PEP, MIF-IDB and INESAD) were followed by a keynote presentation from Dr. Jeffery S. McMullen. Dr. McMullen is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Kelley School of Business (Indiana University), whose research - widely acknowledged and published in premier journals - focuses on entrepreneurial cognition and action, entrepreneurial opportunity, and development entrepreneurship. 

The keynote was followed by two subsequent discussion panels, involving a variety of (academic and policy) stakeholders with different perspectives and engaged in various initiatives involving the promotion of entrepreneurship as a strategy for poverty reduction and inclusive growth.

Facilitated by Dr. Yuri Soares, Chief of Development Effectiveness Unit at MIF-IDB, these "dialogues" presented a unique occasion to reflect and draw some important lessons through sharing of experience, evidence, policy and practice.

The first panel was entitled "What we know: current knowledge of best practice, based on experience and research", and featured the following panelists:

The second panel was entitled "Defining a more focused/effective research-policy action agenda", and featured the following panelists:

  • Amadou B. Diallo, African Bank of Development (AfDB)
  • Cesar Sevilla, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
  • Lucia Sanchez, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), SME initiative
  • Ponciano Intal Jr., Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia
  • Pablo Sanguinetti, CAF - Banco de Desarrollo de America Latina

Each session - both panels and the keynote presentations - was followed by interventions (comments and questions) from the audience.

The main objective of this event was to produce, collectively, a set of specific recommendations for the general improvement of the research-policy action agenda related to the issue. An initial draft, based on the conclusions ensued from the discussions, was presented by the forum's facilitator, Yuri Soares, during the event's final session.

This draft was later circulated amongst all participants of the PEP conference, to receive final inputs and comments before publication. The final version was then published on the PEP website - find it there - and widely disseminated by PEP and its partners, to both maximize and globalize impact of the outcomes.


2014 PEP Best Practice Awards

Also held on May 7, the official closing dinner of the 2014 PEP Annual Conference was the occasion to present the winners of the first edition of the PEP Best Practice Awards.

These awards are meant to reward those research teams who have been most actively engaged in the implementation of a successful “policy outreach” strategy to link their PEP research findings to policy action/influence - at the local, national and international levels - throughout the year (in this case, 2013-2014).

The PEP Best Practice Awards presented during the 2014 Bolivia conference included three prizes, of which the winners are the following PAGE research teams :

1st PRIZE: Youth Self-employment in Households Receiving Remittances in Macedonia - led by Nikica Mojsoska Balzevsk. The award was received by Marjan Petreski - the research team member who had been invited to present the project's final report during the PEP conference.  

2nd PRIZE: Toward a Community-based Monitoring System for Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia - led by Werner Hernani Limarino and Wilson Jimenez, both present to receive the award.

3rd PRIZE: Randomized Evaluation of an Unconditional Cash Transfer Scheme for the Elderly in Ekiti State, Nigeria - led by Damilola Olajide. Dr. Olajide was not attending the 2014 conference as the project is not yet completed, so the award was received - in his name - by Olufemi Obembe, a fellow countryman invited to present a new PAGE project proposal for Nigeria.

More information on these awards (selection criteria, etc.) and the winning research teams and projects can be found here.


"Over the 2014 PEP meeting in Bolivia, discussions with other participants have led to the generation of Memorandums of Understanding between our institution (Finance Think, a young research institute based in Macedonia) and two research centres based in the Latin America region (one in Argentina and another in Bolivia), both with members presenting their proposals or final reports during the PEP meeting. Our discussions have led to the identification of specific venues for cooperation and formulation of specific research projects are underway. This is a form of international networking induced by PEP… "

Blagica Petreski, MACEDONIA


"My participation in the PEP general meeting was an eye-opening experience. It has opened new horizons in terms of research methods and analytical perspectives, but also in the ways to view socioeconomic issues through different frameworks, as well as within their specific policy contexts. Thinking beyond research, to consider the policy implications of our work, is one of the key aspects and contributions of PEP support which I believe is most important."

Chipo Muchabaiwa Nee Chikonye, ZIMBABWE

The 2014 PEP Annual Conference was supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom (or UK Aid), the International Development Research Center (IDRC) of Canada, Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the IDB Group, Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF), and Elsevier’s Journal of Development Economics.


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