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PhD in Public Policy doctoral students delve into a broad range of research areas during their time at Harvard. Our current Public Policy doctoral candidates and their areas of interest are listed below.
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.
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.
Economics of education, labor economics, and applied econometrics.
Environmental economics, particularly the evaluation of policy options for climate change and valuation of ecosystem services.
Environmental and resource economics, and water allocation policy. Jonathan is particularly 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, and econometrics.
Environmental and resource economics; development economics. Specifically the integration of payments for ecosystem services into development and conservation policy.
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.
Economics of entrepreneurship and private sector development. Sebastian is particularly interested in the political economy and decision making process of providing public goods.
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.
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.
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.
Economics of education and labor economics.
Public economics, health economics, household finance, and decision-making under uncertainty. He is particularly interested in the application of insights from behavioral economics to each of these areas.
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.
Public economics, political economy, and behavioral economics.
International relations with a regional interest in East Asia. His research focuses 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.
A. 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.
Environmental and natural resource economics, institutional economics, and comparative development.
Economics of education, labor economics, and applied microeconomics. Her current research focuses on the economic returns to a college major. She is also interested in human capital formation and the demand for skills in the labor market.
Energy and environmental economics and policy, public economics, and industrial organization.
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 developing nations; and institutional and psychological dimensions of human decision making.
Research methods, development economics, behavioral economics, and political economy.
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.
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, 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.
Development, behavioral, and labor economics. Abraham’s 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 bureaucratic hiring and promotion; and impact of institutions (formal and informal) and organizations on inequality and poverty outcomes.
Economic development. Mahnaz is interested in the impact of school inputs on outcomes such as attendance and performance, the efficacy of microcredit programs, the relationship between health and education, and the influence of nutrition and health on labor market outcomes.
Labor economics and health economics, with an interest in immigration policy and education policy.
Environmental economics, applied industrial organization, and development economics, with an interest in the role of transparency initiatives.
Jooa Julia Lee
Behavioral decision research; behavioral economics; organizational behavior and negotiation; behavioral approaches to social justice (ethics and inequality); and methods in psychophysiology and neuroendocrinology.
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.
Applied microeconomics and experimental economics.
Judgment and decision making, particularly related to gender, experimental, and behavioral economics and its applications to law and negotiation, and labor economics.
Development economics, labor economics, and political economy, with a focus on natural resources and private sector development.
Development economics, particularly on social security schemes in developing countries, in India specifically.
International relations and security; war studies; US foreign policy; conceptions of power; Cold War politics; post-WWII settlement.
International development, with a focus on evaluation techniques and political economy models.
Political economy and development economics.
Environmental economics and development economics, with a focus on air pollution control policies in India.
Development economics topics in public finance, education, and political economy.
Public sector labor markets, particularly at the state and local levels. Laura’s research interests focus on 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.
Labor economics and health economics. Interested in how government institutions impact inequality, with a focus on social insurance programs and healthcare markets.
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.
Labor and development economics.
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.
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.
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.
Development economics, labor economics, behavioral economics, and applied econometrics.
Environmental economics, natural resource economics, and development economics.
Environment and development economics. Elizabeth’s 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.
Learn about current PPOL PhD candidates on the job market.
Jooa Julia Lee MPP 2010 and PPOL PhD 2015 is using behavioral science to examine organizational behavior. (Photo credit: Jooa Julia Lee)