I'm off to Madison, which I'll talk more about on Friday or Monday. Chris Blattman is off to BREAD's conference in London. BREAD is an organization that runs regular development conferences with presentations by top economists.
The first two papers are particularly interesting looking and I'll give them a closer look later. Here is a list of the agenda and links to papers.
The first "How to Target the Poor: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia" looks at the best way to figure out which groups to target with poverty relief programs. Finding out who is poor is expensive. One way is to use a proxy means test, which in short means looking at the type of house someone lives in if they don't have running water, concrete floors, electricity or some combination then they are deemed poor and eligible. The other common tool which is cheaper is to find poor communities and give the help to everyone there. Reading the abstract suggests that the first tool works better at figuring out who is really poor, because communities are bad at ranking themselves.
The second paper "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Daughters Less Than Sons? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India" Suggests that girls are breast fed less because mothers want to keep fertile after daughters in hopes of having a son. Child mortality mirrors this result and may account for 22,000 missing girls (or about 14% of the difference between the # of girls and boys)
I'm happy I'm going to Madison, but looks like a good bunch of papers.