Student Stories: Fighting Altitude and Teaching Public Policy in Bolivia

Marco Brancher is a second-year MPA/ID student at Harvard Kennedy School. He was accepted into the Growth Lab's 2022 Summer Internship Program and participated in our engagement with the Master’s Programs for Development (MpD) at Catholic University of Bolivia. This focus of the project is to strengthen the teaching and studies of the public policy challenges in Bolivia.

Why did you apply to be a Growth Lab intern?
I applied to the Growth Lab because I was eager to learn more about Economic Complexity and I wanted to have the teaching experience.

What did you work on this summer?
During the summer I taught a few classes in Bolivia, exploring my experience with data analysis for public policies and microeconomic theory. Moreover, I am writing a report using a gravity model with complexity components to better assess the products the country should be exporting to develop its economy.

In what ways were you challenged?
I was challenged in every way. First, I was challenged by the altitude of La Paz and by the pressure of teaching classes in Spanish in a hybrid environment. Then I was challenged by the data gathering process and by the econometric estimation. Finally, I think it was super hard to really understand the Bolivian economic constraints.

What was your most exciting experience?
Certainly, teaching! It was an incredible experience to be able to prepare the classes and receive the students' feedback. After this experience, I realized that I could learn a lot by teaching and interacting with students.

What advice would you give future Growth Lab interns?
Try to spend the most time possible in the country where you are going to work!

What’s next for you?
I'm not sure! I'll probably continue to work with macro policy and development issues, focusing on structural change and inequalities.