Initiatives & Projects

The Center has three core initiative areas: Human Capital, Firms and Innovation, and Politics, Institutions, and Conflict.

View Human Capital Projects

The Human Capital Initiative focuses on understanding the productive potential embodied in individuals – their skills, health, and other capabilities. Particularly in developing countries, this is the main asset people own. The initiative focuses on two questions:

1. What are the factors that shape individuals’ accumulation of human capital? We investigate what factors lead people to invest in health or education for themselves, for their family members, or their fellow citizens, as well as how the structure of education and health markets affects countries’ levels of human capital.

2. What are the consequences of such investments for economic outcomes? This question encompasses issues such as to the extent to which increased human capital raises people’s wages, and the extent to which it enhances countries’ economic growth.

The Human Capital Initiative is led by CDEP Co-Director Cristian Pop-Eleches.


View Firms and Innovation Projects

The Firms and Innovation Initiative is motivated by the view that one of the best anti-poverty programs is a steady job at a wage sufficient to support the basic needs of a household. Such jobs are more likely to be available when an economy’s industrial sector is thriving, when firms are growing and investing in their workforces. Innovation – understood broadly to mean all types of learning: how to produce new products, how to reduce costs, how to upgrade quality, how to manage an organization – is a key driver of industrial development.

Why are some firms able to innovate and some not? Why are some industries and regions populated by dynamic, innovative firms and some not? What role can public policy play in overcoming market failures and stimulating innovation and industrial development? These are core questions for the initiative.

The Firms and Innovation Initiative is led by CDEP Co-Director Eric Verhoogen.


View Politics, Institutions,
and Conflict Projects

The Politics, Institutions, and Conflict Initiative sees conflict and disorder as one of the greatest threats to development, and the development of good government as a means to economic prosperity as well as an important end in itself. But what is “good government” and how does it come about, both historically and in the modern day? What causes conflict, and what policies and interventions can move violent fighting into the realm of peaceful political competition?

The Politics, Institutions, and Conflict Initiative is led by CDEP Affiliate Suresh Naidu.