Melissa Dell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Melissa Dell
Alma materOklahoma Bible Academy
Harvard College
Oxford University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
AwardsTruman Scholarship, 2004
Rhodes Scholarship, 2005
Sloan Fellowship, 2016
Carnegie Fellowship, 2017
Calvó-Armengol International Prize, 2018
Elaine Bennett Research Prize, 2018
Scientific career
InstitutionsHarvard University
Doctoral advisorsDaron Acemoglu

Melissa Dell is an economist and Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Her research interests include development economics, political economy, and economic history.

In 2014, the IMF named Dell among the 25 Brightest Young Economists.[1] In 2018, she was awarded the Elaine Bennett Research Prize[2] and The Economist named her one of "the decade’s eight best young economists."[3]


Dell grew up in Enid, Oklahoma, where she attended Oklahoma Bible Academy.[4] Despite difficulties completing races because of her poor eyesight, she was a champion long distance runner in high school, setting a state record in the 3000-meter distance.[5] She was the first student from her high school to attend Harvard University, and established an organization, "College Matters,"[6] and a book, "The College Matters Guide to Getting Into the Elite College of Your Dreams," to offer practical advice to ambitious students from similar backgrounds.[5]

She graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 2005 (B.A. economics) and attended the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar receiving a M.Phil. in economics in 2007.[6] In 2012, she completed her Ph.D. in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was a junior member of the Harvard Society of Fellows from 2012 to 2014, and joined the faculty at Harvard in 2014. She got promoted to tenure in 2018.[7]


Melissa Dell's research interests include development economics, economic history and political economy. Her work has mainly focused on explaining economic development through the persistence of historical institutions[8][9] and climate. She has also investigated the effect of conflict on labor market and political outcomes and vice versa.[3] Much of her research has focused on Latin America and Southeast Asia. She was one of the first economists to use a spatial regression discontinuity design, in her paper on the long-term effects of Peru's Mining Mita.

Selected works[edit]

  • Dell (2010). "The Persistent Effects of Peru's Mining Mita". Econometrica. 78 (6): 1863–1903.
  • Dell, Melissa, Benjamin F. Jones, and Benjamin A. Olken. "Temperature shocks and economic growth: Evidence from the last half century." American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics 4, no. 3 (2012): 66-95.
  • Dell, Melissa, Benjamin F. Jones, and Benjamin A. Olken. "What do we learn from the weather? The new climate-economy literature." Journal of Economic Literature 52, no. 3 (2014): 740-98.
  • Dell, Melissa. "Trafficking networks and the Mexican drug war." American Economic Review 105, no. 6 (2015): 1738-79.
  • Dell, Melissa, and Pablo Querubin. "Nation building through foreign intervention: Evidence from discontinuities in military strategies." The Quarterly Journal of Economics 133, no. 2 (2017): 701-764.


  1. ^ "IMF Lists 25 Brightest Young Economists". International Business Times UK. August 27, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  2. ^ American Economic Association (2018). Melissa Dell Recipient of the 2018 Elaine Bennett Research Prize.
  3. ^ a b "Our pick of the decade's eight best young economists". The Economist. December 18, 2018. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  4. ^ Writer, James Neal | Staff. "Enid native wins Carnegie Fellowship". Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Tyson Hubbard. "Rhodes Runners :: A profile on Harvard cross country runners Melissa Dell and Sarah Hill". Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Steven A. Mcdonald (December 16, 2004). "Cross-Country Charm". Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  7. ^ "Congratulations to Professor Melissa Dell on Promotion to Tenure!". Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  8. ^ "Melissa Dell (Harvard) receives Calvó Prize for research on micro-foundations of political and social phenomena | News | Barcelona GSE". Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. June 1, 2018. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  9. ^ "Dell, Shelby named 2017 Andrew Carnegie Fellows". Harvard Gazette. April 26, 2017. Retrieved October 29, 2018.