Dean Karlan

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Dean S. Karlan
Dean Karlan - World Economic Forum on East Asia 2011.jpg
Dean Karlan at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 2011
NationalityUnited States
InstitutionNorthwestern University (2017–present)

Yale University (2005–17)

Princeton University (2002–05)
Abhijit Banerjee[1]
Esther Duflo[1]
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Dean S. Karlan is an American development economist. He is Professor of Economics and Finance at Northwestern University[2] and the co-director of the Global Poverty Research Lab at the Buffett Institute for Global Studies.[3] He is a Research Fellow and member of the Executive Committee of the board of directors at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[4] 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.[5] Along with economists Jonathan Morduch and Sendhil Mullainathan, Karlan served 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 and co-founder of ImpactMatters.


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.[6]

Academic research[edit]

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.[7] His work on savings and health typically uses insights from psychology and behavioral economics to design and test specialized products.[8]

In 2007, Karlan received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers[9][10] and in 2008 he received the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship.[11] He has consulted for the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, FINCA International, Oxfam USA, and the Guatemalan government.[8] 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.[12] He is also the co-author of the economics book More Than Good Intentions published by Dutton Press released in April 2011.[13] 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.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Karlan, Dean S. (2002), Social capital and microfinance. Ph.D. dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  2. ^ Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
  3. ^ "People, Global Poverty Research Lab: Buffett Institute, Northwestern University". Retrieved 2017-10-13.
  4. ^ "Dean Karlan". Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab.
  5. ^ Shelton, Jim (22 January 2010). "The devil's in the data: Innovations for Poverty Action of New Haven evaluates programs around the globe". New Haven Register.
  6. ^ "Distinguished Alumni". Retrieved 2018-01-17.
  7. ^ "Does microlending really help the poor?". Business Daily. BBC World Service. 2009-07-09. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
  8. ^ a b "Dean Karlan, Non-Resident Fellow". Center for Global Development.
  9. ^ Levitt, Stephen D. (2007-12-05). "Congratulations to Dean Karlan". Freakonomics Blog. The New York Times.
  10. ^ "Yale Economist Wins Highest U.S. Award for Young Researcher" (PDF) (Press release). PressMediaWire. 2007-11-14.
  11. ^ "Past Fellows". Retrieved 2018-01-17.
  12. ^ Thaler, Richard; Sunstein, Cass (2008). Nudge. Yale University Press. pp. 231–232. ISBN 978-0-14-311526-7.
  13. ^ Mecklin, John (Mar–Apr 2011). "Foreign Aid for a Frugal Age". Miller-McCune. 4 (2): 8. Archived from the original on 2011-02-27. Retrieved 2011-02-27.

External links[edit]