Sustainability Science Program

Tara Grillos

Tara Grillos

Tara GrillosMs. Tara Grillos
Sustainability Science Program
Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 81
Harvard University
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Office: 502 Rubenstein Building
Tel: (1) 617-496-0739
Email: tara_grillos@hksphd.harvard.edu
Group affiliation: Doctoral Fellow

Tara Grillos is a Doctoral Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program and a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Her research interests include participatory development, collective action and public goods provision, ecosystem services, and community resource management.  She explores these themes through the lenses of political science and behavioral economics, with a focus on the institutional and psychological dimensions of human decision-making.  Tara is a student affiliate of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and a Pre-Doctoral fellow with the Harvard Environmental Economics Program. She is a recipient of the Giorgio Ruffolo Doctoral Fellowship (2012) and the Vicki Norberg-Bohm Doctoral Fellowship (2010). Tara holds a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School and a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Before beginning her doctoral studies at Harvard, Tara served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. She is fluent in Spanish and has received advanced training in German and Swahili. Tara is also a yoga enthusiast and an amateur ukulele player. Her faculty hosts are Ryan Sheely and Richard Zeckhauser.

Participatory development and capacity for collective action
Conventional wisdom among practitioners and donor agencies touts beneficiary participation in development projects as both an end in itself and as a means to improving project outcomes. However, there is as yet no clear consensus as to how participation affects outcomes. In practice, participatory processes vary substantially along several dimensions. An important question for the appropriate allocation of donor and government resources is: Which methods of beneficiary participation, if any, improve development outcomes? How and for whom? This research employs a mixed methods approach, combining lab and field experiments with qualitative interviews to explore the relationship between differing forms of participation and the impact, equity and sustainability of development interventions. Resolving these issues could have important implications for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of community development practice.

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