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Advanced Economic Seminars 227:  Alaska's Reindeer Games:  Assimilation and Economic Development

Publisher:   Time:2018-11-28 14:15:02

Topic:  Alaska's Reindeer Games:  Assimilation and Economic Development

Lecturer:Ann M Carlos,  University of Colorado Boulder

Time: 15:30-17:00 p.m. 6th of November 2018Tuesday

Venue:B321, Zhixin Building

Abstract: For millennia communities lived with the prospect of food insecurity or lived in extreme poverty.  However, the last two centuries have witnessed a significant decline in the number of people living in extreme poverty.  Yet,  this is still a reality for over a billion people worldwide.  To alleviate this, organizations have instituted programs targeted with providing the ultra-poor with assets, in particular, livestock.  Large-scale randomized control trials in Africa, South America and Bangladesh have shown that such one-off asset transfers of livestock reduced the number of ultra-poor households.  In this paper we examine the impact of what was perhaps the first such livestock asset program, the introduction of reindeer to Alaska in 1900.   Reindeer were distributed randomly across households and communities, with some villages and households investing in livestock rearing. Using village level household surveys from 1940, we find, in contrast to current results,  that after forty years villages with reindeer had lower incomes than villages without reindeer.  Within reindeer villages, we find no significant differences between households owning reindeer and those that did not.

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