2022 Economics PhDs in Development and Trade

Nate Barker studied development, labor, and public economics, with a focus on how individuals in Sub-Saharan Africa respond to urbanization and non-farm opportunities, and on the design of social protection programs in developing countries. Nate is joining University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy as a Postdoctoral Fellow.

One of the core strengths of Yale as a place to study development is the breadth of methodology and topic being studied by scholars here. This diversity helped me better understand a variety of approaches one can use to study questions fundamental to development, such as migration, occupational choice, human capital accumulation. – Nate Barker

Nate's research provides rigorous evidence that cultural practices matter for economic development, brilliantly showing using panel data from Ghana how tribal differences only in whether women could inherit significantly affected schooling investment, agricultural productivity, occupational sorting by men and women, and household incomes – Mark Rosenzweig, Frank Altschul Professor of International Economics

Nate’s dissertation is a very creative and clever demonstration of how traditional institutions can mediate a country’s development path as the country modernizes and new economic forces come into play – structural transformation, sectoral reallocation, rural-urban migration. Nate shows that patrilineal, male-only inheritance customs not only foster gender inequality, but also lowers overall productivity and household consumption, because it forces labor to be allocated inefficiently. The dissertation is a very nice marriage of economics with history and culture. – Mushfiq Mobarak, Professor of Management and of Economics

John Finlay conducted research at the intersection of trade and development, using micro data to understand how misallocation, due to credit constraints, affects Indian exporting firms. John is  joining Columbia Business School for a one year postdoc, and then taking a position as Assistant Professor at Imperial College London.

I greatly enjoyed my time at Yale and definitely think I grew intellectually. One aspect I appreciated most was the willingness of faculty outside my specialty to talk about my work; although I was never formally a development student, I certainly benefited from the insights of professors in the development group. – John Finlay

John shows why it is so important to identify the source of misallocation.  Simply subsidizing exporters creates misallocation among exporting firms, yet policies that go to the root cause to relieve the credit constraints can be quite beneficial. – Samuel Kortum, James Burrows Moffatt Professor of Economics

Jonathan Hawkins-Pierot studied the effects of large-scale regulatory policy, using methods from empirical industrial organization to estimate the equilibrium impacts of such policies and evaluate the likely impacts of counterfactual policies. Jonathan is taking a position as Economist at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

EGC is an amazing place to grow as an economist. There's always something to learn surrounded by so many students and faculty doing fascinating and important work around the world. As I continue my career, I hope to find an equally vibrant community. – Jonathan Hawkins-Pierot

Jonathan Hawkins-Pierrot has produced a fine thesis about how policy rules drove banks to expand in India. Prior work by Rohini Pande, among others, had shown large benefits of bank expansion for poverty reduction. Hawkins-Pierrot’s research shows how the government achieved these expansions – by requiring private banks to serve poor rural markets in order to expand in richer urban ones. Hawkins-Pierrot shows that this policy greatly expanded the branch network but also had a cost. For every branch they were required to open in rural areas, banks chose not to open an additional branch that they otherwise would have opened in a smaller city or town. As is often the case in economics, there is no "free lunch” of better financial access for the poor. The government can either subsidize access itself, or mandate private firms to do so, but either way there is a cost to such mandates. – Nicholas Ryan, Assistant Professor of Economics
 

International and Development Economics (IDE) Masters Students

The IDE graduates are starting a variety of roles in economic development research and policy. We highlight just a few of their exciting pathways below and congratulate each of the 2022 class on a successful year.

Svankita Arora will join the Global Poverty Research Lab at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University as a Research Assistant for Professors Dean Karlan and Chris Udry. 

"The IDE program has given me the tools to understand concepts of economics with a real-world focus. The program has reaffirmed my interest in pursuing issues of development and contributing to topics I care deeply about." – Svankita Arora

Manushi Kumar will join the Global Poverty Research Lab at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University as a Research Assistant for Professors Dean Karlan and Chris Udry.

"Studying applied econometrics and development economics as a part of IDE, and getting the required  encouragement from my professors, including Professors Michael Boozer and Prof Robert Mendelsohn, motivated me to pursue research as my career path. I realised while writing my capstone paper in Ed-tech and working as an RA to professor Orazio Attanasio that I have a knack for research in the fields of education, behavioural economics and poverty." – Manushi Kumar


Ruoyu Chen will serve as a Research Associate for Professor Rebecca Dizon-Ross at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Aditi Chaudhary will be a consultant for National Economic Research Associates (NERA) in New York City

Valerie Chuang will join the MIT Economics PhD program.

"From nourishing my interest in neighbouring social sciences to allowing me to learn from leading academics, the IDE program gave me the chance to experience Yale's rich intellectual life. Outside the classroom, providing research assistance to Professor Rohini Pande reaffirmed my decision to pursue a PhD and showed me how economic research can be penetrating and pluralist." – Valerie Chuang

 

Sanjana Muthukrishnan will join the Center for Healthcare Economics and Policy at FTI Consulting in Washington, D.C as a Consultant.

"Being a part of the IDE program brought to focus just how impactful the field of economics is. My experience as an IDE student, as well as being an RA for Professor Costas Arkolakis and Joseph Altonji, led to the strengthening of my interest in using economic theory to answer crucial empirical questions. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to be part of this community." – Sanjana Muthukrishnan


Anjana Nair will be joining FP Analytics, the independent research and advisory division of Foreign Policy, as their Policy Fellow. 

"By arming me with the tools to tackle complex problems, IDE helped me understand my own capacity for making a difference in the world. From there, the program gave me the freedom to particularize that impact to fit both my dreams and my skills, which led me to pursue economic development through foreign policy." – Anjana Nair


Aishwarya Rai will be working at the International Rescue Committee in Nairobi, Kenya, as a Princeton in Africa 2022 Fellow. Her role will be a Grants and Communications Fellow.

"The IDE program helped me to understand and employ the underlying mechanisms and techniques needed to solve some of the world's most pressing development and humanitarian issues. Through its emphasis on well-thought out research and evidence-based solutions, the IDE program gives students the tools and seeds for ideas to craft holistic interventions and quantitatively evaluate policies. IDE captures the main reason why so many of us came here to study: to protect and enhance human dignity."– Aishwarya Rai

Manasi Rao will be joining MIT's Global Diversity Lab as a research fellow. She will be assisting a team of political scientists studying questions about democratic accountability, political economy of development in new democracies, and politicization of the public sector in Africa.

"The IDE program gave me an opportunity to be a part of a community of scholars and engage with research on development and economics. It gave me access to a range of seminars, lectures, and talks by PhD students, early career researchers, and established academics, exposing me to pertinent research questions and the creative ways to study them. This exposure has fueled my interest in becoming a researcher and I am excited to be part of a world of social scientists that works on questions of diversity, development, and dignity."– Manasi Rao


Vaishnavi Sinha will join Yale's Tobin Center for Economic Policy as a Postgraduate Associate where she will work Professor Kenneth Gillingham on projects at the intersection of environmental policies and the automobile industry.

"The IDE program allowed me to strengthen my knowledge of applied methods in microeconomics, econometrics, statistics while also giving me the opportunity to explore a field of my interest - environmental economics. I was able to opt for classes, work as an RA for Professor Robert Mendelsohn as well as write my master’s thesis on the same. This allowed me to learn more about issues I deeply care about and made me realize that I would enjoy working on research projects associated with this branch of economics." – Vaishnavi Sinha

Lakshimi Swaminathan will be a Research Associate with the Yale School of Management's Program on Financial Stability.

EGC Postgraduate Associates

Vineet Gupta served as a Postgraduate Associate at EGC from June 2021 to July 2022 implementing the Google Flood Alerts dissemination intervention as well as analyzing data from Emissions Trading Scheme project. Vineet will be beginning his PhD in Sociology at Northwestern University this Fall. 

I’m grateful to the lab for the exposure and training in econometric analysis, and for the opportunity to understand the possibilities and limitations of academic research in developmental studies. – Vineet Gupta

Vineet has been a stabilizing presence during a period of significant personnel turnover for Google floods, excelling at all the roles he was asked to perform. – Maulik Jagnani, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Colorado Denver

It was a joy to work alongside Vineet on the Google Floods project. He synthesized many sources of quantitative and qualitative feedback on the evaluation to ensure that flood warnings could be efficiently and widely disseminated in Bihar. Alongside his thoughtful analysis products, his lasting legacy on this project will be a well-oiled implementation process for project researchers and volunteers. – Jenna Allard, Senior Research Manager, Yale MacMillan Center 

Balasai Vanukuri served as a Postgraduate Associate at EGC from July 2021 to July 2022, working on projects in gender portfolio based in Raipur and Gwalior, India. He worked on setting up data quality systems for the Endline surveys. Balasai will be applying to grad schools to purse PhD in Economics. 

Working at EGC has been a great learning opportunity. It provided me exposure to a spectrum of things ranging from conducting large scale field surveys with zero compromise on data quality to writing efficient and reproducible codes for data analysis. – Balasai Vanukuri 

I am so glad I had the opportunity to work alongside Bala - he is dedicated, curious, and always a pleasure to work with. I know he will go on to do interesting and exciting work, and I cannot wait to hear about it! – Natalie Theys, Research Manager, Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) at the University of Southern California (USC)

two researchers in an office in India
Giorgia Barboni and Balasai Vanukuri conducting field research, Raipur, India, March 2022. Photo by Ishan Tankha.

It was so nice meeting and working with Bala in the past months. I really appreciated his desire to learn and understand new things, never being afraid of asking questions, and always with a smile. Very best of luck with the new chapter of your life, Bala! – Giorgia Barboni, Assistant Professor of Finance, Warwick Business School, Warwick University

EGC Interns

Michael Barresi served as an EGC Economics Research Intern in the summer of 2020 and went on to write an ambitious senior essay investigating the feasibility of using trade policy to hold together a coalition of countries fighting climate change. Michael will be take a job as a Quantitative Trader at Jane Street Capital and is considering pursuing an Economics PhD down the road.

Economics research was one of the highlights of my four years at Yale. From methodical and thought-provoking theoretical work as a Tobin Fellow to fast-paced and highly impactful work as an EGC intern, I was able to explore the diversity of experiences that economics has to offer, which continuously challenged me and piqued my curiosity in new ways. – Michael Barresi

Michael's paper is a tour de force, connecting tax theory and trade theory, while delivering new insights into what it will take to hold together a climate club. – Samuel Kortum, Professor of Economics

Diego Haro worked as a Research Assistant and Communications Intern, supporting Rohini Pande's research on women's microfinance in India, writing articles to promote the center's research, and building EGC's interactive timeline. After graduation, Diego plans to hone his Spanish skills in Mexico City for six months then move to San Francisco, California to work as a public sector consultant. 

Before Yale, I had no idea what a PhD or research was, and am deeply grateful to the EGC Professors, Researchers, and Staff who welcomed me into the world of development economics. With their support, I’ve not only developed lifelong research and writing skills but a practical empirical framework for achieving economic justice for underserved communities around the world. – Diego Haro

I had heard that Diego had been doing excellent work as a Research Assistant for our group, so I jumped at the chance to have him on the Communications team. His work was excellent: he's a strong writer with great attention to detail. I'm excited to see what he does next. – Vestal McIntyre, Senior Staff Writer and Communications Specialist

Clare Kemmerer served as an EGC Communications Intern 2021-22 as she pursued a Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.) in the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, concentrating in the study of visual arts and material culture. She spent the year working on the EGC History Archive and writing profiles of EGC faculty members, including Diana van Patten, Giovanni Maggi, and José Antonio Espín-Sánchez. Clare will spend the summer at the University of Heidelberg as a Baden-Wurttemberg foundation fellow, before continuing to Johns Hopkins University in the fall to pursue a PhD in the History of Art. 

Clare didn't have extensive economics experience when she applied for the internship, but the minute I read her writing sample, I knew we needed to hire her. In the year since, she has used the clarity and subtlety she developed in writing about Art History and applied it to the research of social scientists – particularly members of EGC's Economic History program. She has really helped build our portfolio of articles, and we'll miss her a lot! – Vestal McIntyre, Senior Staff Writer and Communications Specialist

 

Neeha Kothapalli served as an EGC Economic Research Intern during the summer of 2020. Next year she will attend Columbia University to pursue an MD/PhD.

Aiden Lee worked as an EGC Communications Intern where he worked on the EGC History Project, researching academic contributions of EGC faculty of past decades and writing articles.  After graduation, he will move to Washington, D.C. to work as a research assistant at the Council of Economic Advisors within the White House before applying to PhD programs in economics

EGC was a big part of my introduction to economics research at Yale, and I could not be more grateful for it. It has been a wonderful community, and it is where I learned how economics can be used to help uplift communities across the world. – Aiden Lee

Aiden worked with us at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and our frequent meetings on Zoom that year were high points of my week. He accomplished an impressive amount of research on EGC history while he was with us, and his writing was excellent: his profile of Nancy Birdsall is one of the most-visited pages on EGC's website. We wish him the very best in his exciting next step! – Vestal McIntyre, Senior Staff Writer and Communications Specialist

Rada Pavlova worked with ECG communications projects, including reproducing figures for a manuscript published by MIT Press on work by Pinelopi Goldberg.

My work at EGC has allowed me to become familiar with some incredible research work conducted by Yale Economics professors. It is always a pleasure and a source of excitement to learn about new projects in your area of interest. – Rada Pavlova

Working with Rada was such a pleasure. She’s so smart, friendly, and professional, and a true wizard with Excel. Whether Zooming across oceans or tracking down data, all while balancing busy student life, she was a lifesaver. Congrats, Rada, and best of luck!  – Greg Larson, EGC Communications Consultant
 

Freya Salva served as an Economic Research Intern in 2020, working with the pandemic-response team and performed data collection, cleaning and analysis of ongoing surveys in order to create a Community Development Portal and crafting policy briefs related to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable populations in India. After graduating in 2022, she took position as Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company.

Salma Shaheen is an international student from Hebron, Palestine, who served as a Tobin RA for Professor Rohini Pande and ECG, 2020-21. At Yale she served on the Advisory Committee on Accessibility Resources for which she was awarded Silliman’s Diversity and Inclusion Award. She was aslo nominated for a prize for her senior thesis, which estimates the effect of conflict on child labor in Palestine. Salma will enter the M.Phil program in Development Studies at University of Oxford, where she hopes to focus her work on the gender differentials in the impact of conflict on child labor in Palestine.