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Catalyzing innovative research and instruction on global development.


The Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Institute for Global Development supports theoretical and applied social science research. We fund projects and working groups that address issues ranging from economic inequality to discursive politics, contributing to Cornell’s leadership in global development. 

Established in 2001 within the Department of Development Sociology, the Polson Institute has enhanced and extended the efforts of the department members, creating space for collaboration within and between Development Sociology, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Cornell University community. Through seminars, workshops, and grants we not only plant seeds for research and academic collaboration but contribute to educational opportunities for students outside of the classroom.

Banner image courtesy of David Sasaki on Flickr.

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Blog: Rural Schools & Indiana’s School Tax Levy Referendum

Jul 9, 2019

As part of the Polson Institute's Visiting Faculty Program course in 2019, students wrote blog pieces using key frameworks in research on inclusive rural development to analyze case studies of interest. In this piece, Kristie LeBeau reflects on the system of School Tax Levy Refendums used to support faltering rural schools.

Blog: Rural Development and the Hukou System in China

Jul 2, 2019

As part of the Polson Institute's Visiting Faculty Program course in 2019, students wrote blog pieces using key frameworks in research on inclusive rural development to analyze case studies of interest. In this piece, Luna Lee examines the shortcomings and possible reforms to the Hukou registery system in China.

Keelin Kelly '20 interviews Jenny Goldstein on the academic path

May 13, 2019

Whether it’s research food sovereignty in Malawi, or collaborating on cash crop projects in China, the faculty of DSOC extends their reach throughout the globe. How did our professors end up where they are today, doing work that many undergraduates dream of doing?

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