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Some interesting findings from recent work and summaries of my work:


Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy

Director, Center for Social Innovation

UVA Batten School








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My work focuses on the impact of and strategies for bringing public services such as electricity and sanitation to poor households in developing countries.


Just in time auctions for Sanitation services in Senegal

Interviewing two auction participants for their perspectives on the auctions

How lumpy investments determine the effect of expanding financial services:  Evidence from Uganda.  VoxDev post
manualdesludgingpit (1).jpg

Manual desludging is used by 40 percent of households in our sample of middle class neighborhoods in Dakar, Senegal, and 16 percent of households among middle class households in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (and was last used by 41 percent of  the poorest households in Ouagadougou in our sample).  The sludge from manual desludging is typically left in the road in front of the house.  Increasing demand for improved sanitation, and getting rid of manual desludging  is a key focus of my research.

Can mobile savings improve households' abilities to purchase improved sanitation?  VoxDev post
The Impact of Privatising the Management of a Sanitation Utility:  Evidence from Senegal.  VoxDev post.

Using price discrimination to help poor households access sanitation services:  key findings
Are there productivity impacts of services trade liberalization?  Evidence from India.  A VoxEU Post.
Working Papers:

"Evidence on Designing Sanitation Interventions."  With Britta Augsburg, Andrew Foster and Terence Johnson

Pricing People into the Market:  Targeting through Price Discrimination.”  With Terence Johnson.

"Imperfect Competition and Sanitation:  Evidence from Randomized Auctions in Senegal."  with Jean-François Houde, Terence Johnson and Laura Schechter.


Electricity, Agricultural Productivity and Deforestation in Brazil.”  With Juliano Assunção, Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, and Dimitri Szerman.

How important are Nonconvexities for Savings and Development?  Experimental Evidence from Uganda.”  With Joe Kaboski, Virgiliu Midrigan, and Carolyn Pelnik. (New version 3/22/2024)


"The Impact of Infrastructure Investment on Resilience to Environmental Shocks:  Evidence from Ecuador."  with Cesar Montalvo and Brendan Novak.   R&R World Development


“Pricing Winners:  Optimizing Just-in-time Procurement Auctions in Dakar, Senegal.”  With Jean-François Houde, Terence Johnson, and Laura Schechter.

“Using Market Mechanisms to Increase the Take-up of Improved Sanitation,” with Joshua Deutschman, Jared Gars, Shoshana Griffith, Jean-François Houde, Terence Johnson,  Mbaye Mbeguere, Sarah Nehrling, Laura Schechter, and Jessica Zhu.

“Leader Networks and Targeting: A randomized controlled trial testing the effectiveness of local religious and Governmental leaders.”  With Robert Dowd and Danila Pankov.



Spillovers without Social Interactions in Urban Sanitation,” with Joshua Deutschmann, Laura Schechter, and Jessica Zhu.   AEJ:  Applied Economics, July 2024.

"Privatization of public goods:  Evidence from the sanitation sector in Senegal."  with Joshua Deutschmann, Jared Gars, Jean-François Houde, and Laura Schechter, Journal of Development Economics,  v160, 2023 (open access). 


Timing to the Statement:  Understanding Fluctuations in Consumer Credit Use,” with Sumit Agarwal and Amit Bubna, July, 2020.  Management Science, v67, n8.


"Externalities and Spillovers from Sanitation and Waste Management in Urban and Rural Neighborhoods" with Evan Kresch and Laura Schechter, Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, v42, n3.


The Impact of Land Tenure Reform on Deforestation:  Evidence from the Brazilian Amazon.”  With Niveditha Prabakaran, 2020.  World Development.  Volume 129.


Subsidies versus mental accounting nudges: Harnessing mobile payment systems to improve sanitation.”  With Laura Schechter, 2018.  Journal of Development Economics.


Decentralization and Pollution Spillovers: Evidence from the Re-drawing of County Borders in Brazil” with Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak.  Review of Economic Studies, January 2017, v84 (1).


Service Reform and Manufacturing Performance:  Evidence from India.”  with Jens Arnold, Beata Javorcik, and Aaditya Mattoo. Economic Journal, v126, issue #590 pp (1-39), February 2016.


The Aggregate Impact of Household Saving and Borrowing Constraints:  Designing a Field Experiment in Uganda.”  With Joseph Kaboski and Virgiliu Midrigan.  AER:  Papers and Proceedings, March 2014.


"Development Effects of Electrification:  Evidence from the Topographic Placement of Hydropower plants in Brazil.” with Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak and Tania Barham, April 2013, AEJ: Applied Economics v5 (2).

Related note:  Another Look at the Precision of IV estimates of the Development Effects of Access to Electricity in Brazil

Field Work
Field Work
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We are working with Delvic Sanitation Initiatives to run just in time procurement auctions in Dakar and to understand the impacts of privatization.

MPP Electives: 

Sustainability Policy Design and Evaluation

Development Economics

BA Core Course:

Choices and Consequences:  The Economics of Public Policy

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