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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.

Current Students and Research Interests

Martin Abel

Applied microeconomics, with a focus on development economics, labor economics, and behavioral economics.  Martin is particularly interested in productivity and matching in labor markets of developing countries.

Maria Cecilia Acevedo

Political economy and the microeconomic foundation of development.  Maria Cecilia is interested in human capital investment, intra-household and spatial allocation of economic activity and market failures that prevent industry development in low and middle income countries.  She is also interested in political violence, its causes and economic consequences. 

Samura Atallah

Behavioral economics, development economics, labor economics, and applied econometrics.  Samura's current research projects focus on the effects of non-cognitive skills on labor market outcomes, and the effect of scarcity on behavior and cognition.

Andrew Bacher-Hicks

Economics of education, labor economics, and applied econometrics.  Please also see Andrew's personal website.

Megan Bailey

Environmental economics, particularly the evaluation of policy options for climate change and valuation of ecosystem services.

Jonathan Baker

Environmental and resource economics, and water allocation policy.  Jonathan is particularly interested in economic incentive structures for allocating scarce water supplies. 

Natalie Bau

Applied microeconomics; development economics with an emphasis on education and health, application of industrial organization in micro-development, and econometrics.

Patrick Behrer

Environmental and resource economics; development economics.  Specifically the integration of payments for ecosystem services into development and conservation policy.

Syon Bhanot

Applications of behavioral and public economics research.  Syon's specific policy areas of interest include: household economic decisions, peer/social information, public goods, and development.  His current research focuses on designing and running field experiments that use behavioral decision concepts to address real-world, policy-relevant issues.

Sebastian Bustos

Economics of entrepreneurship and private sector development. Sebastian is particularly interested in the political economy and decision process of providing public goods.

Gabriel Chan

Economics of technical change and the environment.  Gabe is interested in public research, development and demonstration programs in energy technologies; decision-making under uncertainty; and climate policy and its effect on energy innovation.

Rohit Chandra

The history, evolution and dynamics of energy markets in South Asia, particularly in India.  Rohit is focusing on coal, electricity and natural gas markets, and their supply chains, governance, and distortions.  More broadly, he is interested in natural resource economics in developing countries and the economic effects of resource extraction on local communities.

Juan Pablo Chauvin

Local and regional economic development, international development, and behavioral economics. Juan Pablo is 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.

Cuicui Chen

Environmental economics, game theory, and allocation theory.  Cuicui's 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.  Learn more about Cuicui.

Sarah Cohodes

Economics of education and labor economics.  Learn more about Sarah.

Stephen Coussens

Public economics, health economics, household finance, and decision-making under uncertainty.  Stephen is particularly interested in the application of insights from behavioral economics to each of these areas.

Danny Crichton

Innovation and industrial policies in the United States and East Asia. 

Elijah de la Campa

Applied microeconomics, with a particular interest in labor economics, the economics of education, and education policy.

Holly Dykstra

Public economics, political economy, and behavioral economics.

Peter Dyrud

International relations; regional interest in East Asia.  Research focus on the causal influence of national factors, to include economic measures, forms of government, and freedom indices, on the spread of ideologies.

Raissa Fabregas Robles Gil

Applied microeconomics, with a focus on development economics, labor economics and political economy. Raissa is interested in the role of social capital on economic outcomes, inefficiencies in public service delivery, and individual investment choices under uncertainty and risk.

Nilesh Fernando

Development economics, labor economics, and applied econometrics; understanding the determinants of occupational mobility in rural South Asia; and understanding the role of information in explaining technology adoption in agriculture.  Learn more about Nilesh.

Nathan Fleming

Environmental and natural resource economics; institutional economics; comparative development. 

Madeleine Gelblum

Madeleine is interested in teh economics of education, labor economics, and applied microeconomics.  Her current research focused on the economic returns to college major.  Madeleine is also intested in human capital formation and the dmand for skills in the labor market.

Todd Gerarden

Energy and environmental economics and policy, public economics, and industrial organization.

Guthrie Gray-Lobe

Labor economics, public economics, and political economy.

Tara Grillos

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.

Marie-Pascale Grimon

Research methods, development economics, behavioral economics and political economy.

Sarika Gupta

Political economy and development economics. Sarika is interested in public service delivery, corruption, and rights awareness in emerging democracies, particularly India.  She is also interested in political participation and socioeconomic behavior of resource-scarce households.

Nils Hagerdal

International security, ethnic conflict, and politics of the Middle East.

Tomoko Harigaya

Development economics and behavioral economics with a focus on household finance and health behaviors.

Alicia Harley

Regional and global agri-food systems: assessing water, agriculture and economic policies, and their contribution to sustainable food systems. Alicia is interested in the impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security. Innovation and technology transfer in development, and the interplay of politics and science in policy making.  She has a regional focus on Middle East, North Africa and India.  Learn more about Alicia.

Abraham Holland

Development, behavrioal, and labor ecnomics.  Abe's current research interests include the effect of non-cognitive traits on labor market outcomes.

Daniel Honig

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.  Learn more about Dan.

Mahnaz Islam

Economic development. Mahnaz is interested in 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.

Ariella Kahn-Lang

Labor economics and health economics.  Specific interest in immigration policy and education policy.

Jennifer Kao

Environmental economics, applied industrial organization, and development economics.  Particularly interested in the role of transparency initiatives.

Joo-A Julia Lee

Behavioral decision research; behavioral economics; organizational behavior and negotiation; behavioral approaches to social justice (ethics and inequality); and methods in psychophysiology and neuroendrocrinology.  Learn more about Julia.

Elizabeth Linos

Public sector reform, with a focus on motivating and retaining top human capital in the public sector, and public goods provision and community-level diversity.  Elizabeth's primary fields are political economy and labor economics.

Andrey Liscovich

Applied microeconomics and experimental economics.

Heidi Liu

Judgment and decision making, particularly as it relates to gender, experimental and behavioral economics and its applications to law and negotiation, and labor economics.

Stephanie Majerowicz

Development economics, labor economics and politicial economy, with a focus on natural resources and private sector development.

Sharan Mamidipudi

Development economics, particularly on social security schemes in developing countries, specifically India.

Aroop Mukharji

International relations and security; war studies; US foreign policy; conceptions of power; Cold War politics; post-WWII settlement.

Sara Nadel

International development, with a focus on evaluation techniques and political economy models. 

Yusuf Neggers

Political economy and development economics. 

Janhavi Nilekani

Environmental economics and development economics, with a focus on air poulltion control policies in India. 

Oyebola Olabisi

Development economics topics in public finance, education and political economy.

Laura Quinby

Public sector labor markets, particularly at the state and local levels.  Laura's 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.

Rebecca Sachs

Labor economics and health economics.  Interested in how government institutions impact inequality, with a focus on social insurance programs and health care markets.

Trisha Shrum

Climate change and energy through the lenses of environmental and behavioral economics.  Trisha's 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.

Niharika Singh

Labor and development economics.

Samuel Stolper

Environmental and energy economics and policy, climate policy, water quality, and energy market function.  Sam's current projects include a study of water pollution and health in India, and an analysis of competition in Spanish gasoline markets.

Richard Sweeney

Environmental economics, industrial organization, and public finance.  Richard's current research interests include estimating the benefits of energy efficiency programs, and the relationship between environmental policy and technological change.

Yeling Tan

International political economy and global governance.  Yeling is particularly interested in the politics of adjustment in China's economic liberalization, and the impact of the rise of China on global economic governance. 

Gabriel Tourek

Development economics, labor economics, behavioral economics, and applied econometrics.

Daniel Velez-Lopez

Environmental economics, natural resource economics, and development economics.

Elizabeth Walker

Environment and development economics.  Elizabeth's current research examines contract design for environmental services and agricultural technology adoption in Southern Africa.

Lisa Xu

Private sector development in Sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions, industrial policy, and export diversification.

Joshua Yardley

Development economics and the economics of education, particularly the provision and measurement of quality education in rural settings.

Career Paths for PhD in Public Policy Graduates

Graduates of this program go on to positions in academia, NGOs, and government agencies.


Doctoral Candidates in Public Policy on the Job Market

The 2013-2014 Job Market Candidates will be posted in the early Fall.