News & Events

August 27, 2019 

New Article: “Gender Earnings Inequality and Wage Policy: Teachers, Health Care, and Social Workers in Central Asia” by Kathryn Anderson and Damir Esenaliev at Journal of Comparative Economic Studies

Abstract: In 2011, the government of Kyrgyzstan increased the wages paid to teachers, healthcare workers, and social workers (EHS) in response to national strikes from teachers over low wages and working conditions. The EHS wage policy was adjusted between 2012 and 2015. We examine the literature on gender wage inequality and policies to redress inequalities in different countries and specifically in Central Asia. We use data from the Life in Kyrgyzstan panel surveys (2010–2016) and the Kyrgyzstan Labor Force Surveys (2009–2016) to describe the gender gap in wages and hours of work over time for EHS and other workers. We estimate panel models of the impact of the wage reform on monthly wages using LIK data. We find that the wage policy reduced the difference in wages between comparably skilled EHS and other workers, reduced the gender pay gap primarily in the EHS sector, and reduced the overall gender wage gap in Kyrgyzstan. This wage-setting policy targeted rural areas and narrowed the gap in wages paid to rural and urban workers. The policy was an effective mechanism to reduce wage inequality.

The article can be found at the following link:


Call for Papers and Sessions on Annual ‘Life in Kyrgyzstan’ Conference 2019

Institute of Public Policy and Administration of the University of Central Asia (UCA), Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ), International Security and Development Center (ISDC), and the World Bank are pleased to announce the next fifth annual ‘Life in Kyrgyzstan’ Conference to take place in Bishkek on 23-24 October 2019.

The two-day conference will bring together national and international experts from government and the public sector, development agencies, non-governmental organizations, academia and research institutions, and media to exchange knowledge and experiences on recent socio-economic developments in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, and to promote evidence-based policy making.


New Publication: “Post-socialist transition and intergenerational educational mobility in Kyrgyzstan” by Tilman Bruck and Damir Esenaliev

Economics of Transition, 10.1111/ecot.12136, 2017


We investigate long-term trends in intergenerational educational mobility in a lower middle-income transition economy. We draw on evidence from Kyrgyzstan using data from three household surveys collected in 1993, 1998 and 2011. We find that Kyrgyzstan, like Eastern European middle-income transition economies, maintained high educational mobility, comparable to levels during the Soviet era. However, we find that the younger cohorts, exposed to the transition during their school years, experienced a rapid decline in educational mobility. We also document that gender differences in schooling and educational mobility, found among older-aged individuals, disappeared in the younger cohorts.

The full publication is available by the following link:


The third Annual ‘Life in Kyrgyzstan’ Conference

Institute of Public Policy and Administration of the University of Central Asia (UCA), Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), ISDC – International Security and Development Center, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) hold the third annual ‘Life in Kyrgyzstan’ Conference that took place in Bishkek on 12-13 October 2017.

A wide range of topics in socio-economic development of the Kyrgyz Republic and other Central Asian countries were covered. The conference has also informed on the process of the “Life in Kyrgyzstan” Study carried out in 2016 by an international consortium of research institutions with funding from IFPRI, IGZ, FAO and UCA (see

The Program of the Conference can be found here.


Workshop on Household Life, Employment and Social Cohesion in Kyrgyzstan – Integrating scientific insights and implementation effort

The workshop presents empirical insights from three long-term research projects conducted in the Kyrgyz Republic. Based on this, the aim is to initiate a dialogue among scientists, practitioners, stakeholders and policy-makers on ways to facilitate the integration of research and implementation efforts for projects of development cooperation.

The workshop features speakers from the ‘International Security and Development Center’ (Berlin), the ‘Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’ and the ‘Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin’. It is supported by a grant of the ‘Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) / WOTRO Science for Global Development’.

The workshop takes place on 27 April 2017, 09:00 – 13:00 in ‘Hotel Evropa’ (Bishkek). English-Russian translation is available.

Further information on the research projects, program and speakers can be found in the attached file: Agenda ‘Household Life, Social Cohesion and Employment’

Research Presentations can be found below:

“Introduction: Entrepreneurship and Employment in Kyrgyzstan” – Prof. Tilman Bruck

“Employment for Stability” – Dr. Neil Ferguson

“The Impact of Peace Education on Stability: Evidence from Southern Kyrgyzstan” – Dr. Eleonora Nillesen

“Stability and Community Development in Kyrgyzstan” – Dr. Damir Esenaliev

“An Ethnographic Perspective on Stability and Employment” – Dr. Philipp Schröder


Workshop on Social Cohesion in Kyrgyzstan at George Washington University

Tilman Brück (ISDC), Damir Esenaliev (SIPRI), and Kanat Tilekeyev (UCA) will present a workshop on ‘Social Cohesion in Kyrgyzstan’ organized by the Central Asia Program of George Washington University on May 10, 2017.

Social cohesion has emerged over the last two decades as an important concept in both academic and political discourse, especially in fragile and conflict-affected environments. At the same time, the evidence on how to build social cohesion and peace at the individual level has been quite scarce. This event will review some exciting new evidence on building peace and social cohesion at the micro-level from Central Asia.

Drawing on the results of the Life In Kyrgyzstan Study, a long-term quantitative study of socio-economic developments of over 8.000 individuals, Prof. Tilman Brück will present some insights on social cohesion and peace in Kyrgyzstan since 2010.

Dr. Kanat Tilekeyev will explore findings from the Kyrgyz Social Cohesion Through Community-Based Development Project, discussing the motivation and design of the project; development of the social cohesion index; and findings from operations and implications for future community-driven development programming in conflict-affected and fragile environments.

Dr. Damir Esenaliev will present the findings from the impact evaluation of the LivingSidebySide® (LSBS) peacebuilding programme designed to foster ethnic tolerance and skills for resolving conflict among young adults in Southern Kyrgyzstan.

When: Wednesday, May 10, 2017; 4:30-6:00pm

Where: Voesar Conference Room; 1957 E St NW, Suite 412; Washington, DC 20052

Registration on the workshop is available from the link.


Call for Papers on Social Protection in Contexts of Fragility and Forced Displacement

This call for papers aims to assemble high quality papers that will increase our understanding of: 1) the role of social protection in fragile contexts and settings of forced displacement and migration; and 2) synergies across the humanitarian and development divide in both contexts. The aim is to assemble 8 to 10 papers of sufficient quality to be jointly submitted for a special issue to the Journal of Development Studies, or featured in an edited book. Reviewed and approved papers will also be featured in the UNICEF Office of Research–Innocenti working paper series.

Some submissions are expected to draw on evidence presented at an International Conference focusing on the same themes organized by UNICEF, the European Commission and partners to take place in July 2017 in Brussels, Belgium. It is expected that these papers and others coming from outside the conference will include quantitative and mixed methods work, focusing on diverse social protection research resulting in policy-relevant lessons for governments, humanitarian and development actors, and the larger donor and stakeholder communities.

Extended abstracts can be submitted to Guest Editors (proposed length of 1,000 words) by email: by 15 July 2017. Please see the full call for papers.


Call for Applications: Summer School on Social Cohesion 2017

The Summer School on Social Cohesion: Concept, Implementation and Impact Evaluation is a capacity-building initiative for researchers, practitioners and policymakers in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia. It is organised as part of the Social Cohesion through Community-based Development project implemented in Kyrgyzstan from 2014 to 2017. The project aims to identify, pilot and build capacity for social cohesion mechanisms in community-driven development approaches. The Summer School will be held from 11–18 June 2017 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Researchers, primarily young professors, PhD students, development practitioners, and policy analysts from government, international agencies and civil society organisations based in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) are encouraged to apply. The application deadline is 5 April 2017. More details can be found here.


“Life in Kyrgyzstan” Session at the World Congress of Comparative Economics, Rome

A panel session on “Life in Kyrgyzstan” was included in the programme of the World Congress of Comparative Economics to be held in Rome in June 25-27, 2015 (see here for more information). Four papers were presented by Armando Barrientos, Kathryn Anderson, Neil Fergusson, and Susan Steiner. Hartmut Lehmann and Giovanna d’Adda served as the panel reviewers.


“Life in Kyrgyzstan” Summer School

ISDC,  the Institute of Public Policy and Administration of the University of Central Asia (UCA), SIPRI, the United Nations University Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT) and 3ie will offer a Summer School in Kyrgyzstan in June 2015 entitled ‘Life in Kyrgyzstan International Summer School on Impact Evaluation Methods in Central Asia ’. The Summer School will teach the theory and practice of theory-based impact evaluations and related state-of-the-art quantitative and qualitative techniques. Participants will gain a high-level understanding of the importance of these instruments and their role in the design and assessment of public policies and development interventions. Applications are invited from practitioners, professionals and academics commissioning, conducting or interpreting impact evaluations at national or international organisations, non-governmental organisations, agencies, ministries, universities and think tanks based in or working with Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). Applicants residing and working outside Central Asia will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The application deadline is 15 March 2015. Further information can be accessed here.