Jie Bai Photo
Assistant Professor of Public Policy

For more information, go to Professor Jie Bai's full website.

I am an Assistant Professor in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.  My research focuses on firms and markets in developing countries and emerging economies, addressing two broad questions: First, what are the key barriers and constraints that hinder firm growth and upgrading in developing countries? Second, understanding these, how can we then structure effective policies to alleviate firm-level constraints and market frictions to facilitate private sector development? Methodologically, I combine large-scale randomized control trials, quasi-experimental applied micro techniques, and structural modeling tools from industrial organization and international trade. I also like to ground my empirical research in microeconomic theory to shed light on how firms make decision, and how markets are organized to generate incentives and allocate resources. 

For the past ten years, I have conducted research in China, East Africa and Southeast Asia, where I have collaborated with governments and non-government organizations to design, implement and evaluate industrial, trade and development policies. 

I received my Ph.D. in Economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in June 2016, and spent one year at Microsoft Research New England prior to joining HKS in 2017. 

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 Jie Bai

Organization Relationship
Peking University Reimbursed travel
Renmin University of China Reimbursed travel
Tsinghua University Reimbursed travel
Zhejiang University Reimbursed travel


Business & Regulation
Science, Technology & Data
Development & Economic Growth
Poverty, Inequality & Opportunity

Mailing Address

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