Dean Karlan at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 2011
|Information at IDEAS / RePEc|
Dean Karlan is an American development economist. He is Professor of Economics at Yale University and a Research Fellow at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Karlan is also the President and Founder of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), a New Haven, Connecticut based research outfit dedicated to creating and evaluating solutions to social and international development problems. Along with economists Jonathan Morduch and Sendhil Mullainathan, Karlan serves as Director of the Financial Access Initiative (FAI), a consortium of researchers focused on substantially expanding access to quality financial services for low-income individuals. He is also a co-founder of stickK.com.
Karlan received a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology., an M.B.A. and an M.P.P. from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Virginia. Karlan attended the Duke University Talent Identification Program from 1982–1985.
Karlan's research focuses on the areas of development economics, behavioral economics and international development policy. He has studied microeconomic issues of financial decision-making, specifically employing randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to examine what works and what does not and why with respect to interventions and businesses intended to address problems in society. Internationally, he focuses on microfinance, and domestically he focuses on voting, charitable giving, and commitment contracts. In microfinance, Karlan has studied the following topics: interest rate policy, credit evaluation and scoring policies, entrepreneurship training, group versus individual liability, savings product design, credit with education, and impact from increased access to credit and savings. His work on savings and health typically uses insights from psychology and behavioral economics to design and test specialized products.
In 2007, Karlan received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and in 2008 he received the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. He has consulted for the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, FINCA International, Oxfam USA, and the Guatemalan government. Karlan is also co-Founder of StickK, a company that manages incentive-based employee wellness programs and public campaigns for health living, and enables users to make commitment contracts in order to reach their personal goals. He is also the co-author of the economics book More Than Good Intentions published by Dutton Press due for public release in April 2011. Karlan is also a member of the Finance research programme at the International Growth Centre, a research centre based jointly at The London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Oxford, which brings academics and policy-makers together.
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