External Principal Investigators
Abhijit Banerjee, MIT
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee was educated at the University of Calcutta, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D in 1988. He is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2003 he founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), along with Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan and remains one of the directors of the lab. In 2009 J-PAL won the BBVA Foundation “Frontier of Knowledge” award in the development cooperation category. Banerjee is a past president of theBureau for the Research in the Economic Analysis of Development, a Research Associate of the NBER, a CEPR research fellow, International Research Fellow of the Kiel Institute, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society and has been a Guggenheim Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. He received the Infosys Prize 2009 in Social Sciences and Economics. In 2011, he was named one of Foreign Policy magazine’s top 100 global thinkers. His areas of research are development economics and economic theory. He is the author of a large number of articles and three books, including Poor Economics (www.pooreconomics.com) which won the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year. He is the editor of a fourth book, and finished his first documentary film, “The Name of the Disease” in 2006. Most recently, Banerjee served on the U.N. Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Ajaykumar Tannirkulam, IFMR LEAD
Ajay’s interest in the livelihoods of small farmers made him spend significant time in the field identifying issues in agriculture that have resulted in low growth rates. Ajay co-founded Magasool in 2012, a not-for-profit initiative aimed at improving the lives of small and marginal farmers in Tamil Nadu. Magasool focuses on providing specialized agriculture inputs that improve yield or decrease input costs. In addition, Ajay has been an Advisor to IFMR LEAD since February 2013.
Ajay got his PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2008. He joined IFMR LEAD’s Centre for Microfinance (CMF) as the Head of the Analytics Unit in January 2009. Between 2011 and 2013 he kept additional charge as the Interim Executive Director.
Alessandro Tarozzi, University of Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona
Alessandro Tarozzi earned his PhD from Princeton University in 2002, and has been a faculty member at Duke University (USA) until the end of 2011, when he became Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and Business at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Barcelona GSE (Spain). The core of his current agenda is on health outcomes and health-related decision making among poor households, with a regional focus on South Asia, and especially India.
His more recent work includes studies on gender-specific trends in child nutritional status in India, the impact of different delivery mechanisms of bednets on malaria indexes and malaria-avoiding behavior, the role of perceptions vs. present-biased preferences in explaining the limited health-protecting behavior among the poor, and the impact of information on the choices of households facing arsenic-contaminated tube-well water in Bangladesh. His past work has also encompassed methodological contributions to the literature on the estimation of poverty and inequality measures with missing data, including papers on poverty trends in India and on poverty mapping.
Anandi Mani, Warwick Business School
Anandi Mani is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick. She also functions as Capacity Building Fellow at the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) in the U.K. Her research interests lie in the area of development economics, with an emphasis on issues related to the psychology of poverty, gender and political economy.
Her ongoing projects on poverty focus on its impact on cognitive abilities, decision-making and aspirations. She has also been working on political economy issues related to public good outcomes in India, including the division of authority between politicians and bureaucrats and the impact of female political representation. Her field work in India has been carried out in several states including Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. She is currently a consultant to the World Bank on projects related to politics, gender and development. Dr. Mani has a PhD in Economics from Boston University.
Anita Mukherjee, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Anita Mukherjee is an Assistant Professor of Risk and Insurance at the Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked with IMFR since 2009 and does research broadly on social insurance, public finance, and development economics. Dr. Mukherjee has worked with Jeremy Tobacman and Shawn Cole on a large, randomized controlled field experiment on rainfall-indexed insurance in Gujarat, India. She has also conducted a framing experiment on micropension demand among below-poverty-line households in Uttar Pradesh, India with Olivia S. Mitchell. Her most recent project involved a field experiment around chlorine tablet distribution in urban slum areas around Hyderabad. This effort was a collaboration with Camille Boudot testing novel marketing methods using lessons from behavioral economics. Dr. Mukherjee has a Ph.D. in Applied Economics from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Annie Duflo, IPA
Annie Duflo is responsible for leading the strategic directions of IPA, the implementation of its strategic plan and the day to day operations. Previously, Annie served as IPA’s Research Director where she managed IPA’s research network, staff capacity-building, and new project development. She also played a key role in the scaling up of successful programs with particular focus on education. Annie has a wealth of experience implementing and managing randomized evaluations in the field. Prior to joining IPA, Annie was the Executive Director of the Centre for Microfinance (CMF) at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) in Chennai, India, which she joined at its creation. Annie holds a Master of Public Administration and International Development degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and Master in Social Sciences from EHESS (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales)/ ENS (Ecole Normale Supérieure) in Paris.
Antoinette Schoar, MIT, Sloan School of Management
Antoinette Schoar is the Michael M. Koerner Professor of Entrepreneurial Finance at MIT Sloan School of Management. She is an expert in corporate finance, entrepreneurship, and organizational economics. Antoinette Schoar researches venture capital, entrepreneurial finance, corporate diversification, and governance, and capital budgeting decisions in firms. In 2008, she received the Kauffman Foundation Prize Medal for distinguished research in entrepreneurship. Antoinette Schoar is also a Managing Director and founder of ideas42, a laboratory for applied behavioral economics hosted at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University.
Aprajit Mahajan, Stanford University
Aprajit Mahajan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Stanford University. Mahajan’s research interests are in development and econometrics with a regional focus on India. Ongoing research includes field-experiments on management practices in large firms and the provision of health-improving technologies in rural India.
Arjit Nandy, McGill University
Arjit Nandy is an Assistant Professor jointly appointed at the Institute for Health and Social Policy and the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health at McGill University. The principal investigator of a research project to assess the effects of social policies on health outcomes prioritized by the UN Millennium Development Goals, Arijit is primarily interested in the understanding the effects of social policies on health and health inequalities in a global context. Other interests include: (1) assessing multilevel associations between social and economic determinants, including both individual-level and population-level exposures, and population health and (2) applying causal methods for addressing challenges to the study of social determinants of health. A former Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at Harvard University, Arijit received a PhD from the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Arun Chandrasekhar, Stanford University
Arun G. Chandrasekhar is a development economist and econometrician interested in the role that social networks play in developing countries. His research focuses on social learning and informal insurance, as well as the associated econometric problems that arise when studying network data. He received his PhD from MIT in May 2012 and is currently a post-doctorate at Microsoft Research New England. In the fall of 2013, Chandrasekhar will begin as an assistant professor at Stanford’s department of economics.
In collaboration with Cynthia Kinnan and Horacio Larreguy, Chandrasekhar is studying the interaction of financial products with informal insurance by utilizing randomized lab experiments in rural Karnataka, India. He also examines the diffusion of microfinance and information about poverty through Indian and Indonesian village networks, respectively. In addition, in joint work with Horacio Larreguy, he is conducting experiments to distinguish between various models of social learning models on networks.
Chandrasekhar also studies the econometric problems associated with analyzing economic models on sampled network data. His work has shown that naively analyzing sampled network data without care yields misleading results, and he offers statistical solutions to address this problem. Chandrasekhar is also interested in partially identified parameters and incomplete data and works on estimating set identified functions.
Benjamin Feigenberg,Department of Economics, MIT
Ben Feigenberg is a doctoral candidatein Economics at MIT. His primary areas of interest are Development Economics and Labor Economics and his research focuses on education, migration and job markets.
Bilal Habib, World Bank
Bilal Habib is a consultant in the Poverty Poverty Reduction and Equity Group in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit at the World Bank. His areas of interest are in poverty and inequality measurement and impact evaluation. He holds an MPA in Economics and Public Policy from Princeton University and has previously worked as a research analyst in the Fiscal Affairs Department at the International Monetary Fund.
Brian Blackburn, Stanford University
Brian Blackburn’s interests include parasitology and international health, cryptosporidium and angiostrongylus outbreaks, schistosoma/strongyloides seroprevalence in refugees and the distribution and impact of insecticide-treated bednets for malaria and filariasis prevention in Nigeria and India. In addition, Dr. Blackburn has worked on toxoplasmosis epidemiology in Colombia and plans to work on vector-borne infections in Indonesian Borneo as well as clinical and programmatic work in Liberia.
Bruce Kogut, Columbia University
Bruce Kogut is the Bernstein Professor of Ethics and Leadership at Columbia Business School and directs the Sanford C. Bernstein Center there; the Center released in November 2012 a film called Financial Innovation: A Risky Business, available for free on its web site, that discusses financial innovation, the crisis, and regulation. He is currently on leave to the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, writing a book on productivity as the driver of national wealth. Related to this book project, he is working with the IFMR Trust and colleagues to measure the productivity of microfinance institutions in India. Along with David Lazer and Derek Ruths, he received funding from the NSF to study the political coloring of boards. Some 20 colleagues and he recently produced a volume called The Small Worlds of Governance (MIT Press), which analyzes governance in a score of countries as emergent and constituting certain topological and structural characteristics that influence the quality of governance. He is a member to research advisory boards in India, France, and formerly Russia, as well as to the senior economist at the EBRD, and was the founder of INSEAD’s program on social entrepreneurship. He is a graduate from UC Berkeley, Columbia, and MIT (Ph.D at the Sloan School) and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Stockholm School of Economics.
Christopher Robert, Harvard University
Christopher Robert is an adjunct lecturer in public policy and research associate. He is also the founder of Dobility, Inc., a new start-up dedicated to human-usable technology for research and analysis. His technical areas are micro and development economics, and his interests include welfare, subjective well-being, and policy analysis. His research and work has been based in India, Bhutan, Nepal, Cambodia, and Zimbabwe. Before turning to economics, public policy, and international development, he began his career in computer software development, online technology, and business. He holds an A.B. in public policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as Masters and Ph.D. degrees, also in public policy, from Harvard University.
Christopher Udry, Yale University
Economic development, Microeconomics of development in Africa
Christopher Udry is the Henry J. Heinz, II Professor of Economics at Yale University. He is a development economist whose research focuses on rural economic activity in Sub-Saharan Africa. He has conducted extensive field research in West Africa on technological change in agriculture, the use of financial markets, asset accumulation and gift exchange to cope with risk, gender relations and the structure of household economies, property rights and a variety of other aspects of rural economic organization. He spent two years as a secondary school teacher in northern Ghana, and has been a visiting scholar at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria and at the University of Ghana at Legon. At Yale, Udry has directed the Economic Growth Center and served as the Chair of the Department of Economics. He teaches graduate courses on development economics, and undergraduate courses on Economic Development in Africa.
Cynthia Kinnan, MIT
Cynthia Kinnan’s research focuses on how households in developing countries use financial products and informal insurance networks to finance investments, save, and cope with risk. She is particularly interested in the causes of missing markets, in the interaction between insurance and credit, and in microfinance. She was selected as a participant in the 2010 Review of Economic Studies tour, where the leading PhD graduates in economics give a series of seminars in Europe.
Daniel Brooker, RAND
Daniel Keniston is an assistant professor of Economics at Yale University. His research focuses largely on the role and structure of markets in developing countries, with other interests in governance, technology adoption, and economic history. He has worked in the Caribbean, Africa, and South Asia, with particular emphasis on India. He finished his BA at Yale in 2004 and his PhD at MIT in 2011.
Dave Atkin, Yale University
David Atkin joined the faculty at Yale as an Assistant Professor of Economics after receiving his PhD from Princeton University. His primary fields are trade and development. David’s research focuses on evaluating the impacts of trade liberalization on the poor in the developing world by using the microeconometric tools and the large household datasets common in applied economics to analyze trade and development issues. His recent work has studied the role of regional taste differences in altering the impacts of trade reforms in India, and educational responses to the rise of export oriented manufacturing in Mexico.
Erica Field, Duke University
As a development economist, Erica’s research focuses on individuals and families in very low-income settings and the policies that affect them. Specifically, her work is in the areas of marriage and family, property rights, global health, and finance and entrepreneurship.
Frank Schilbach, Harvard University
Frank Schilbach is a PhD candidate in economics at Harvard with primary interests in development and behavioral economics. His work focuses on the role of understudied correlates of poverty — alcohol consumption, physical pain, and sleep deprivation — in the lives of the poor, as well as the generation and diffusion of information about optimal agricultural inputs in sub-Saharan Africa. Frank graduated from Mannheim University (Germany) with a Diplom in Economics in 2008 and earned an M.A. in Economics from UC Berkeley in 2009.
Giorgia Barboni, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, in Pisa (Italy)
Giorgia Barboni is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Trinity College Dublin and Research Affiliate at the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, in Pisa (Italy), where she received her PhD in Economics in October 2012. Before joining Trinity College Dublin, she spent a visiting period at the University of St. Gallen and at the London School of Economics, as a Robert Solow Post-doctoral Fellow. Her research focuses on Development Finance, Experimental Economics and Financial Intermediation. She is currently involved in a series of field studies analysing the role of microfinance on poor populations and the impact of innovative interventions enhancing financial inclusion both in developing and developed countries. During her PhD, she worked as an intern both at the Bank of Italy and at the National Bank of Belgium.
Heather Schofield, Center for Global Development, Washington D.C
Heather Schofield is a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington D.C. and will join the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in the summer of 2015. Her research focuses primarily on development, health, and behavioral economics. She has worked in the Philippines and Bangladesh, but the concentration of her research is in India. She holds an A.B. from Harvard College, an M.S. in Global Health and Development from the Harvard School of Public Health, and a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University.
Manuel Adelino, Duke University
Manuel Adelino is an Assistant Professor of Finance at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. He conducts research on household finance, corporate finance and real estate finance. His current work focuses on resolution mechanisms for distressed homeowners and the effects of the supply of mortgage credit on house prices. He has received a Ph.D. in Financial Economics from MIT Sloan School of Management. Before MIT he worked in the Lisbon office of McKinsey as a Business Analyst.
Mudit Kapoor, Indian School of Business
Mudit Kapoor is an Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Indian School of Business. His primary research interests are in the areas of Applied Econometrics, Applied Microeconomics and secondary research interests are in Industrial Organization, Development, Labor and International Finance.
Mushfiq Mobarak, Yale University
Mushfiq Mobarak is an associate professor of economics at the Yale School of Management. He is a development economist with interests in environmental issues. Professor Mobarak has several ongoing research projects in Bangladesh, India, Malawi and Brazil. He conducts field experiments exploring ways to induce people in developing countries to adopt technologies or behaviors that are likely to be welfare improving. Professor Mobarak co-chairs the Urban Services Initiative at the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT, and leads the Bangladesh Research Program for the ‘International Growth Centre (IGC)’ at LSE and Oxford. He has previously worked as an economist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the World Bank, and at the International Monetary Fund. Professor Mobarak advises several PhD economics candidates working on development issues, and he won the 2006 Most Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award at the University of Colorado. He teaches MBA courses focused on the challenges to doing for-profit or non-profit business in developing countries and on marketing products and behaviors to poor consumers. He also leads Yale SOM ‘international experience’ trips to developing countries
Rajkamal Iyer, MIT, Sloan School of Management
Raj Iyer is an Assistant Professor of Finance at MIT Sloan School of Management. His research interests include banking and contract theory. He is particularly focused on understanding the role of interbank markets in the provision of liquidity. Recent research projects include examining the factors that mitigate depositors’ incentive to run on banks and how market participants overcome friction in contracting. He has received an MS in Finance and Economics from the London School of Economics and a Phd in Finance from INSEAD.
Rohini Pande, Harvard Kennedy School
Rohini Pande is the Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University, and co- Director of Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at the Center for International Development, Harvard University. She heads the Governance Innovations for Sustainable Development Group at Harvard Kennedy School and co-chairs the Political Economy and Government Group at Jameel Poverty Action Lab. Her research examines how the design of democratic institutions and government regulation affects policy outcomes and citizen well-being, especially in South Asia. Her work emphasizes the use of real-world evidence to test economic models, often through large-scale field experiments in developing countries. She has worked extensively on electoral accountability mechanisms, political affirmative action for women and minorities and on the design and impact of financial access initiatives in low-income settings. Current projects include examinations of: information disclosures via politician report-cards; health and economic impacts of microfinance; the efficacy of environmental regulations in India; and the costs and benefits of an emissions trading market in India. Her research has been funded by NSF and private foundations. Pande received a Ph.D. in economics from London School of Economics, a MA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and a BA in economics from Delhi University.
Shawn Cole, Harvard Business School
Shawn Cole is an associate professor in the Finance Unit at Harvard Business School, where he teaches a second-year elective course “Business at the Base of the Pyramid.” He has also taught FIN1 and FIN2 in the core curriculum, as well various executive education courses. His research examines corporate and household finance in emerging markets, with a focus on banking, microfinance, insurance, and the relationship between financial development and economic growth. He has worked in India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and South Africa. He is an affiliate of MIT’s Jameel Poverty Action Lab, and the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development. Before joining the Harvard Business School, Professor Cole worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the economic research department. He has also served as chair of the endowment management committee of the Telluride Association, a non-profit educational organization. He received a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005, where he was an NSF and Javits Fellow, and an B.A. in Economics and German Literature from Cornell University.
William Jack, Georgetown University
Billy Jack is Associate Professor of Economics and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Economics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgetown University. His research interests include empirical and applied microeconomics in the areas of development, public finance, and health economics, with a recent focus on microfinance, financial literacy, mobile technologies, and road safety interventions, in developing countries. He has held positions on the Joint Committee on Taxation of the US Congress, and at the IMF, the Australian National University, and the University of Sydney. He holds a BSc in mathematics and physics from the University of Western Australia, and an MPhil and DPhil in Economics from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.