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A student in the Public Policy doctoral program pursues a variety of research topics during their time at Harvard. Below are the current research topics of the Public Policy doctoral candidates.
Applied microeconomics. Focus on development economics, labor economics, and behavioral economics. Particular interest in productivity and matching in labor markets of developing countries.
Political economy and the microeconomic foundation of development. Human capital investment, intra-household and spatial allocation of economic activity and market failures that prevent industry development in low and middle income countries. Political violence, its causes and economic consequences.
Behavioral economics, development economics, labor economics, and applied econometrics. Current research projects include the effects of non-cognitive skills on labor market outcomes and the effect of scarcity on behavior and cognition.
International knowledge diffusion, using the ability to export as a measure of a country's acquisition of productive tacit knowledge. Interests of research also lie on private sector development, international economics and development economics.
Environmental economics, particularly the evaluation of policy options for climate change and valuation of ecosystem services.
Environmental and resource economics; water allocation policy. Specifically interested in economic incentive structures for allocating scarce water supplies.
Applied microeconomics; development economics with an emphasis on education and health; application of industrial organization in micro-development; econometrics.
Applications of behavioral and behavioral decision research. Specific policy areas of interest include: household economic decisions, pro-social behavior, public goods, and development. Current research focuses mainly on designing and running field experiments that use behavioral decision concepts to address real-world, policy-relevant issues.
International security and technology; in particular, how technological development affects strategic interactions and vice versa.
Economics of entrepreneurship and private sector development. Particularly interested in the political economy and decision process of providing public goods.
Economics of technical change and the environment. Public research, development and demonstration programs in energy technologies; decision-making under uncertainty; climate policy and its effect on energy innovation.
The history, evolution and dynamics of energy markets in South Asia, particularly in India. Specifically focusing on coal, electricity and natural gas markets, and their supply chains, governance, and distortions. More broadly, interested in natural resource economics in developing countries and the economic effects of resource extraction on local communities.
Local and regional economic development, international development, and behavioral economics. Specifically interested in the determinants of city and regional economic growth and inequality, the role of productive structure in subnational development, the micro-foundations of local investment decisions, and local and regional development policies.
Environmental economics, game theory, and allocation theory. Current interests include the role of economic activities in damaging/preserving the ecosystem; theory, application, and empirical testing of learning; and the problem of siting a public facility. Please also see Cuicui's personal web site.
Economics of education and labor economics. Please also see Sarah's personal web site.
Applied microeconomics, especially health economics, behavioral economics, risk perception and decision-making.
Applied microeconomics, focusing on development economics, labor economics and political economy. Specifically interested in the role of social capital on economic outcomes, inefficiencies in public service delivery and individual investment choices under uncertainty and risk.
Development economics, labor economics, and applied econometrics; understanding the determinants of occupational mobility in rural South Asia; understanding the role of information in explaining technology adoption in agriculture. Please also see Nilesh's personal web site.
Environmental and natural resource economics; institutional eeconomics; comparative development.
Applied microeconomics. Research interests include environmental economics, economics of energy markets, behavioral economics and technology adoption, and labor economics.
Labor economics, public economics, and political economy.
Participatory processes and sustainable development; collective action, public goods provision and community resource management; participatory governance structures in dveloping nations; institutional and psychological dimensions of human decision-making.
Political economy and development economics. Public service delivery, corruption, and rights awareness in emerging democracies, particularly India. Political participation and socioeconomic behavior of resource scarce households.
International security, ethnic conflict, and politics of the Middle East.
Development economics and behavioral economics with a focus on household finance and health behaviors.
Regional and global agri-food systems: assessing water, agriculture and economic policies in terms of their contribution to sustainable food systems. Impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security. Innovation and technology transfer in development. Interplay of politics and science in policy making. Regional focus on Middle East, North Africa and India. Please also see Alicia's web site.
Development, behavrioal, and labor ecnomics. Current research interests include the effect of non-cognitive traits on labor market outcomes.
Impact of organizational structure and staff incentives on individual and organizational performance in public bureaucracies, particularly international development bureaucracies; dynamics of bureaucractic hiring and promotion; impact of institutions (formal and informal) and organizations on inequality and poverty outcomes. Please also see Dan's personal web site.
Economic development. The impact of school inputs on outcomes such as attendance and performance; the efficacy of micro-credit programs; the relationship between health and education; the influence of nutrition and health on labor market outcomes.
Labor economics and health economics. Specific interest in immigration policy and education policy.
Environmental economics, applied industrial organization, and development economics. Particularly interested in the role of transparency initiatives.
Behavioral decision research; behavioral economics; organizational behavior and negotiation; behavioral approaches to social justice (ethics and inequality); methods in psychophysiology and neuroendrocrinology. Please also see Julia's personal web site.
Public sector reform, with a focus on motivating and retaining top human capital in the public sector; public goods provision and community-level diversity. Primary fields: political economy and labor economics.
Applied microeconomics and experimental economics.
Judgment and decision making, particularly as it relates to gender; experimental and behavioral economics and its applications to law and negotiation; labor economics.
Development economics, labor economics and politicial economy, with a focus on natural resources and private sector development.
International Development with a focus on evaluation techniques and political economy models.
Political economy and development economics.
Sustainable development and energy policies in developing countries, particularly India.
Development economics topics in public finance, education and political economy.
Public sector labor markets, particularly at the state and local levels. Research interests in total compensation; the impact of public sector collective bargaining on wages, benefits, and the size of the workforce; and the political economy of state and local pension and retiree health insurance plans.
Issues of climate change and energy through the lenses of environmental and behavioral economics. Current research interests include the exploration of a potential bias in the perception of eco-product quality, and the implications of such an eco-product bias for the energy efficiency gap.
Applied microeconomics; health care economics; innovation and productivity in health care; innovation policy. Current research interests include incentives for innovation in the market for medical devices and the economics of pharmaceutical and medical device regulation. Please also see Ariel's personal personal web site.
Environmental and energy economics and policy; climate policy; water quality; energy market function. Current projects include a study of water pollution and health in India and an analysis of competition in Spanish gasoline markets.
Environmental economics, industrial organization, and public finance. Current research interests include estimating the benefits of energy efficiency programs and the relationship between environmental policy and technological change.
International political economy and global governance. Particularly interested in the politics of adjustment in China's economic liberalization, and the impact of the rise of China on global economic governance.
Development economics, labor economics, behavioral economics, and applied econometrics.
Judgment and decision making. Experimental economics, behavioral economics and game theory. Risk aversion. Currently studying the applicability of the assumption that asset integration matters for risk attitude.
Environmental economics, natural resource economics, and development economics.
Environment and development economics. Current research examines contract design for environmental services and agricultural technology adoption in Southern Africa.
Private sector development in Sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions. Industrial policy and export diversification.
Development economics and the economics of education, particularly the provision and measurement of quality education in rural settings.
Political economy, international economics and contract theory. Particularly interested in the effect of a country's contractual environment on vertical integration of multinational enterprises and on technological spillovers to local firms. Also interested in social security reform in post-communist countries. Regional focus is Eastern Europe and, in particular, the Czech Republic.