Key Research Interests and Expertise

Main: behavioural development economics; household models and intra-household relationships; social preferences (specifically envy); Others: qualitative-quantitative methods; growth diagnostics; child health; literacy; poverty; common property resources; land tenure; energy (particularly household energy); subjective well-being; household surveys; Geographical focus: Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda

Research Groups:  Behavioural and Experimental Development Economics; Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science; Health Policy and Practice

Recent activities

I was a former principal investigator of a large DFID-ESRC research project on “The experimental investigation of allocation norms across contexts and the implications for household models and development policies”.  Cecile Jackson, Alistair Munro, Nitya Rao, Marcel Tarazona and Arjan Verschoor are the other research team members.  The project run between 2007 and 2010 and is an experimental study of intra-household allocations in three developing countries – Ethiopia, India and Nigeria – following a pilot study conducted in Uganda.  Experimental games, data from household surveys, sociological and anthropological data are used to understand intra-household allocations in different context of developing countries (look at the ‘Research and other publications’ below for some of the outputs from this research project).

“Money burning, envy and development: An experimental case study in Ethiopia” is the second research project I was involved in recently (2008-10).  This was funded by an ESRC grant and was conducted in collaboration with Professor Daniel Zizzo (Newcastle University).  The role of envy and similar social preferences like inequality aversion on agricultural innovations was examined by using experimental games in conjunction with survey and qualitative data. The flagship working paper from this research project is listed in the ‘Research and other publications’ section below.

Currently, I'm involved in a European Union research project entitled “Reconciling Biodiversity and Development through Direct Payments for Conservation (ReDirect)”, with Adrian Martin, Nicole Gross-Camp and Shawn McGuire all from the School of International Development (UEA).  This project examines the feasibility of payments for environmental services (PES) among communities bordering the Nyungwe national park in Rwanda by introducing experimental PES over a period of time.  This will be one of the first research undertakings that examine the effectiveness of PES in a rigorous experimental method.  The project runs between 2008 and 2012.

 I’m currently working on

  • the effect of fuel prices on fisheries with Kirsten Abernethy (World Fish), Edward Allison (World Fish) and Nick Dulvy (Simon Fraser University);
  • literacy using data from Mozambique with Bryan Maddox and Lucio Esposito from the School of International Development;
  • growth diagnostics in West African countries with the African Development Bank.

I’m writing an introductory development microeconomics textbook.  This textbook attempts to innovatively integrate conventional microeconomics with insights from behavioural and institutional economics laying out a better framework to understand development problems.

Here is a list of recent presentations:

Present the paper “Envy and agriculture innovation: An experimental case study from Ethiopia” at the Royal Economic Society (RES) annual conference, Royal Holloway, University of London, 18-20 April 2011, London

Presented the paper “Intra-household efficiency: An experimental study from Ethiopia” with Marcela Tarazona, Alistair Munro and Arjan Verschoor at Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) annual conference, Oxford University, Oxford, 20-22 March 2011

Keynote presentation on “Of love and deadly sins: Experimental games in development research”, Young Researchers Forum, the Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE), 11 March 2011, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh

Keynote presentation on “Intra-household allocation and bargain power”, workshop on “Women’s Bargaining Power and Economic Development”, Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University, 4 February 2011

 “The lion’s share: An experimental analysis of polygamy in northern Nigeria”, authored with Alistair Munro, Marcela Tarazona, and Arjan Verschoor and presented by Alistair Munro at the Allied Social Science Associations Conference, American Economic Association, January 6-9, 2011, Denver, CO, USA

Organised a session on “Energy Use in Fisheries: Improving Efficiency and Technological Innovations from a Global Perspective” with Kirsten Abernethy (University of East Anglia), Nick Dulvy (Simon Fraser University) and Edward Allison (World Fish) at a conference organised by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 14-17 November 2010, Seattle, WA

Presented with Kirsten Abernethy the paper “High fuel prices in temperate and tropical fisheries: Are the impacts the same?” at a conference organised by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 14-17 November 2010, Seattle, WA

Presented the paper “Intra-household economic models and personality: Challenging homo anonymous”, presented at the 15th European Conference on Personality (ECP15), Brno, Czech Republic, 20-24 July 2010

Presented the paper “Growing up in rural Ethiopia: Do children left behind catch-up?” at the Eighth European Conference on Health Economics (ECHE2010), Helsinki, Finland, 7- 10 July 2010

Presented the paper “Social preferences and agricultural innovation in Africa: An experimental case study from Ethiopia”, with Daniel Zizzo, annual conference of the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), Oxford University, Oxford, 21- 23 March 2010

Presented the paper “Literacy practices and schooling: Case study from Mozambique” authored with Lucio Esposito and Bryan Maddox at the International Conference on Literacy Inequalities, 1 – 3 September 2009, University of East Anglia, Norwich UK

Made a presentation on “Sustainability, Energy and the Urban Poor in Africa: The Case of Ethiopia”, 19 June 2009, at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Invited and made a keynote presentation on “Sustainability and Development: Institutions, Social Preferences and Markets” at the ICLEI World Congress Researcher Symposium Thursday, 18 June 2009, Shaw Conference Centre, Salon 4 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Presented a paper “Growing-up in rural Ethiopia: A dynamic systems GMM approach to child growth” at the Seventh International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy, Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA), 25 - 27 June 2009, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Attended the CREED-CeDEx-CBESS 2009 Meeting on behavioural economics 12-13 June 2009, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

Presentation on “Publications: Publish or Perish!” on DSA Annual Postgraduate Students Workshop, 3 June 2009, School of International Development, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

Invited and attended “Sustainable development and natural resources: What issues to work on, and how?”, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), China Regional Advisory Panel Meeting hosted by the College of Humanities and Rural Development, China Agricultural University, 3 September 2008, Beijing, China

Invited and attended, “Research impacts and influence workshop”, ESRC-DFID, 30 May 2008, Medical Research Council, London, UK

Invited as panellist to DAC/POVNET of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) workshop on “Reducing Poverty and Promoting pro-Poor Growth: China’s Experience in Rural Poverty Reduction at Home and in Africa”, 21 February 2008, Paris

“Interactions between short- and long-term anthropometric health outcomes among children in rural Ethiopia”, paper presented at the Sixth World Congress on Health Economics, International Health Economics Association (iHEA), 8-11 July 2007, Copenhagen, Denmark

“Subjective well-being, disability and adaptation: A case study from rural Ethiopia”, co-authored with Marcel Fafchamps presented at the Global Poverty Research Group (GPRG) and Brooks World Poverty Institute (BWPI) Conference, University of Manchester, Manchester, 2-4 July 2007

“Community wealth-ranking and household surveys: An integrative approach”, paper presented at the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) Conference 2007 on Economic Development in Africa, 18-20 March 2007, Oxford University, Oxford, UK

Earlier research

1.      Managing four rounds of the Ethiopian Rural Household Surveys (ERHS) between 1994 and 1997:  These surveys were conducted by the Department of Economics of Addis Ababa University in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), Oxford University and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).  Further rounds of the ERHS have been conducted creating an invaluable panel household survey data unique not only for Ethiopia but for Africa.  The data have been used in many PhD theses (including mine), masters dissertations and journal articles and papers.  Some of the data collected by these surveys are publicly available at the CSAE web site.

2.      I also managed an urban household survey covering seven main urban centres of Ethiopia in 1995 in collaboration with the Agricultural Economics Department of Michigan State University.  This survey was part of the Food Security Project funded by USAID.

3.      Energy, particularly household energy use, is an area on which I've worked for a relatively long time.  Most of my energy-related research is done within AFREPREN.  I've served as Steering Committee member for around a decade in addition to working as co-ordinator of different theme groups.  My main research focused on household energy use in urban areas of Ethiopia.

4.      I was holding a research grant from the AERC on "Poverty, income distribution and labour market issues in Africa" between 2003 and 2005 with Arne Bigsten and Abebe Shimeles.

5.      A research grant held with Abebe Shimeles from the Foundation for Advanced Studies in International Development (FASID) through the AERC in 2001-02.  The research focused on poverty and institutions.

ID: 32375