Eliana La Ferrara Photo
Professor of Public Policy

Eliana La Ferrara is a Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. She is President of the Econometric Society and Program Director of Development Economics for the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). She is also a J-PAL Affiliate, a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Economic Association, and an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Her research focuses on Development Economics and Political Economics, particularly on the role of social factors in economic development. Methodologically, she combines fieldwork, rigorous empirical analysis, and microeconomic theory to address questions at the intersection of economics and other social sciences. She has studied ethnic diversity, kin structure and social norms, and the effects of television on social outcomes. She has also investigated political constraints to development, with particular focus on violent conflict in Africa. She regularly collaborates with governments and international organizations to evaluate the effectiveness of development policies.

Her work has been published in leading economic journals, including the American Economic Review, Econometrica, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics, among others.

Eliana received a PhD in Economics from Harvard University in 1999. Prior to joining Harvard, she was the Invernizzi Chair in Development Economics at Bocconi University, Milan, where she founded and directed the Laboratory for Effective Anti-poverty Policies (LEAP). She was president of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) in 2016-2019 and of the European Economic Association in 2018. She is the recipient of the 2020 Birgit Grodal Award.

Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles

HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series

Research Papers/Reports

Transparent Engagement 

Harvard Kennedy School is proud of its energetic involvement in the world. To better understand how to solve public problems by improving policy and leadership, we engage directly with policymakers, public leaders, governments, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit businesses whose activities affect those problems. However, we recognize that such engagement can raise questions about perceived and potential conflicts of interest, so we disclose publicly the key professional activities of our faculty outside the Kennedy School. The activities disclosed below are for the most recent reporting period, as defined by University policy. Some may be paid, some may be unpaid, and others may be in exchange for expense reimbursement only.

Outside Professional Activities For Eliana La Ferrara

Organization Relationship
Centre for Economic Policy Research Office in professional organization
Econometric Society Office in professional organization
FAIR - Centre for Experimental Research on Fairness, Inequality and Rationality Membership on a scientific or other advisory board
Infosys Science Foundation Membership on a scientific or other advisory board
Unicredit Foundation Membership on a scientific or other advisory board


Mailing Address

Harvard Kennedy School
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138