Biographical Note

Dr. Susanne van Dillen

 Dr. Susanne van DillenSusanne van Dillen obtained her M.A. in Geography and Anthropology at the University of Freiburg, Germany, in 1994, and her Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, in 2000. During the period 1995-2003, she spent five years in the field in Tamil Nadu and Orissa, India. Her interdisciplinary training and increasingly intensive co-operation with economists have led her to an approach that draws on quantitative as well as qualitative methods, as exemplified by her monograph, Different Choices: Assessing Vulnerability in a South Indian Village (2004). 

 Her principal research is mainly concerned with vulnerability to natural risks and disasters, with special reference to a drought-prone region of Orissa. A panel survey of 240 households over eight seasons provides the basis for an analysis of the effects of system-wide and individual shocks on household well-being. In addition to the formal survey, this project involved extensive contact with local institutions, public and NGOs alike. This project was financed by the German Research Foundation and the World Bank, to which she has been a consultant since 2003. An extension of this project investigates the influence of household practices and public services on child health and mortality, a study commissioned by the Bank in connection with the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. At present, van Dillen is engaged as a consultant to the Bank in connection with PMGSY, the very large public expenditure programme under which all rural habitations are to enjoy an all-weather road connection to the main road network by 2017. This work involves, in collaboration with local agencies, the design, implementation and analysis of surveys, paying special attention to the benefits generated by such roads in the domains of health and education. 

Van Dillen was a post-doctoral fellow at the South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg, from December 2000 until March 2004, with an official leave of absence at the World Bank from July 2003 to March 2004. She was appointed Lecturer in Geography at the University of Bonn in April 2004, a position she held until December 2007. After maternal leave following the birth of her second child in 2007, she has worked as an independent consultant.