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Muhammad Adil, PhD student in public policy

Published on March 9, 2021 Updated on March 16, 2021
Agriculture land near a road side near Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan © Zulqarnain Photoqraphy
Agriculture land near a road side near Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan © Zulqarnain Photoqraphy

on the March 12, 2021

PHDDOCTALK. Adil is studying the impacts of the decentralization policies on public services.

Before the PhD

Adil has a rich and brilliant career as a teacher and researcher for international organizations and at the Ministry of Planning and Development in Balochistan, a Pakistanis province. He had the opportunity to improve his knowledge of development economics practices and how to design effective programs within several national and international NGOs.

He intended to explore further different issues: how to improve the living conditions of the populations of developing countries? Which policies should be implemented? And lastly, how the inequalities in access to services can be reduced?

All these questions have led him to resume training and to turn to research to explore and contribute to the most recent works on poverty reduction in his country. He took the opportunity to study abroad facilitated by a grant from the Higher Education Commission in Pakistan. Without a doubt, he chose the Université Clermont Auvergne, internationally renowned for the School of Economics master programs and its outstanding research center in development economics, the CERDI. Adil was already holding a master’s degree in economics from Balochistan University. Still, he enrolled in a master in Development Economics at UCA, with the objective of joining the doctoral program at CERDI.

His PhD: Confronting decentralization and economic development

His PhD explores in depth the different aspects of the economic policies of decentralization. His PhD thesis is supervised by Florent Bresson and Grégoire Rota-Graziosi.

First, he investigates the impacts and the efficiency of decentralization on Pakistanis public services. The central question is to find if increasing the Provinces’ authority over their fiscal affairs facilitates access to essential public services like education, health, and sanitation. He does a critical analysis, not only quantitative but also qualitative, of the redistribution of income and wealth.

In a second study, he conducts a comparative analysis of public policies for nearly twenty Asian countries. Adil wants to verify whether the local public services affected economic development positively. Moreover, he tries to find if the well-being of the population has increased in these effects.

These countries regionalized their administrations like the tax authorities to facilitate access to public services and quality by being closer to the population. This second paper will show if decentralized policies can reduce income inequalities between regions; also, if the public service coverage progressed.

In the third paper, Adil chose a historical approach to education and health policies. Following the seminal contributions of Daron Acemoglu and Abhijit V. Banerjee, he investigates the British colonial government’s economic policies in Punjab. First, he analyzes the period 1881-1931. His ambition is to evaluate the capacity of the state over half a century. Subsequently, he will study the impacts of these policies on the recent period. He includes transport infrastructure as a factor of economic development like Dave Donaldson did earlier.

During the colonial era, Punjab was financing its public policies with agricultural taxes. Adil’s first results reveal that access to education and health did not improve in the short run and was quasi-positive in the long run. Indeed, the priority of the colonial government was to increase her income and not to distribute it locally.

After his PhD Defence: What's next?

Adil will return to the Ministry of Planning and Development, Government of Balochistan, where he will be in charge of designing poverty reduction policies.

He aims to share with policymakers the latest research on public policies and to guide them.

His favorite songs of the moment

"Parda dari" by Abida Parveen and Harry Styles' single "Sign of the times".