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YOM Institute of Economic Development has given a ten days training for the Senior and Junior Research Staff and Heads of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research. The trainees were more than 40 and were pooled from different branches of the Institute located all over the country including the head office, and drawn from the research directorates of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Extension, and Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation.

The training was conducted with the title Panel Data Modeling and Impact Evaluation Methods using Stata from June 14-23, 2017 in Addis Ababa. It was a software-based focused training on two main thematic areas of Panel Data Modeling and Impact Evaluation. 

The first part of the training was composed of Advanced Econometrics of Panel Data Modeling with rigorous and advanced applications in Econometrics. The training was designed to equip researchers with contemporary theories and models of econometrics using econometric packages. It covered research methods, Linear Static Panel Data Modeling, Linear Dynamic Panel Data Modeling, and Non-Linear Panel Data Modeling. Sufficient time was allocated to acquaint students with modern econometric software (Stata) for analyzing economic problems (with a focus on agriculture). 

The second thematic area was on Program (Impact) evaluations and it was given based on the notion that hard evidence from survey data is one fundamental means required to respond to the real-world development phenomenon. This part incorporated the key methodological approaches available to researchers interested in identifying a causal relationship with due emphasis on agricultural interventions.

The training on Impact Evaluation was extended from showing the fundamental problem as that of the counterfactual, and the basics of randomized treatment assignment to the other social experiments on which the researcher encounters in a real world. The econometric analysis on estimating average treatment effects (ATE) under various sets of assumptions, their applications, and the associated shortcomings of each methodology was verified by practical agriculture-related examples through the aid of software. Quantitative aspects of methods of Propensity Score Matching, Difference-in-Differences, Combined Matching and Difference-in-Differences, as well as Endogenous Switching Techniques, are well practiced using Stata 14.2.

After the training session, many of the trainees provided us with a testimony that the training has given them an opportunity to focus on what’s important and how to effectively apply what has been presented. For them, the training weekend provided them with much insight on the experiences of the largely diverse and real world econometric applications with software. 

Both thematic areas of the training were offered by Yom staff who have Ph.D. in the area with a wide experience on the subject matter. So far, YOM’s staff have offered trainings to different local and International Institutions in several thematic areas, including, but not limited to, Haramaya University, Debre Tabor University, and Mizan Tepi University.

 

Two papers were presented in the seminar under the general theme – Evaluating Development Interventions. The first paper tilted “Linking the Economy to Ecosystem: Land use change and Ecosystem Services Valuation at Basin Level in the Lake Naivasha Basin, Kenya” was presented by Dr. Dawit Mulatu from Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI). The second paper titled “The Impact of Social Protection on Livelihoods: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia” was presented by Dr. Zerihun Berhane from YIED.

Participants of the seminar had a discussion on the two papers. The chairperson–Dr. Bamlaku Alamiraw summarized the main points addressed in the papers and suggested that this kind of research seminars are very important for students to develop their research capacities and  in terms of creating a platform for sharing ideas.

A similar Bi-Annual Research Seminar will be held this weekend at  Debre Markos University on 29th August2015.

I found out about Yom through my contacts at my graduate school and selected it for the International Field Program (IFP), which is a six credit summer internship program. As a new economic development institute, I was very much impressed by the work that it has already accomplished and wanted to be a part of a growing and vibrant institute that is making a meaningful impact on the issues that interest me. I worked at the institute for two months as an intern and it has been a great experience to be in Ethiopia in general, and to be at Yom in particular. The professional environment at the institute is very relaxed but rigorous as well. The work that is being done in every department is quite relevant for the country and I saw that you are involved in so much already.

This is my third time to be in Ethiopia and in all my research visits I have been hosted by YOM as I am affiliated staff on a collaborative research projects. I also served as a guest lecturer on quantitative research methods in Economics and Impact evaluations. I found the students to be very dedicated and eager to learn. I noticed that in terms of teaching, the institute is doing quite well. The teaching is collaborative and useful for capacity building at a national level. It was interesting for me to see that despite being a private and relatively new institute, it has already accomplished a lot in terms of building the capacity of public universities through collaborative graduate programs and research activities.