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Petia Topalova is an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Harvard and a visiting scholar at the Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard's Center for International Development. Her primary areas of interest are development and international trade. Her research focuses on two main themes. First, she studies the consequences that structural reforms can have in developing countries. Her work in this area has ranged from exploring the impact of India's trade liberalization on poverty, inequality, and child labor, to estimating its effect on firm productivity, product adoption, and tax evasion. A second set of projects focuses on political affirmative action for women, disentangling its consequences for women's voice and aspirations, and attitudes towards female leaders.
Topalova is currently on leave from the International Monetary Fund. At the IMF, she is an economist at the World Economic Studies Division in the Research Department and was part of the teams producing various World Economic Outlook chapters, including: Capital Flows: Reliable or Fickle?, Resilience in Emerging Market and Developing Economies: Will it Last?, Dealing with Household Debt, and Do Financial Crises Have Lasting Effects on Trade. Prior to joining the Research Department, she was a desk economist for India and Bhutan. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT and a B.A. from Brandeis University.