Nava Ashraf

Nava Ashraf is an Associate Professor in the Negotiations, Organizations, and Markets Unit at Harvard Business School. Professor Ashraf received her Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University in 2005, and her BA in Economics and International Relations from Stanford University.

Professor Ashraf’s research combines psychology and economics, using both lab and field experiments to test insights from behavioral economics in the context of development projects in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. Her experiments address behavior change in health and health services delivery, in agricultural production, and in microfinance. She has conducted research on questions of intra-household decision making in the areas of finance and fertility, with a special focus on women’s empowerment.

She has taught in the first year MBA sequence on Negotiation, and is part of the Executive Education program of the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative, where she teaches Impact Evaluation and Performance Measurement for Nonprofit Management.

She is a Faculty Affiliate of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT, dedicated to the use of randomized trials as a tool for learning what works in international development, and a Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prior to joining HBS, she worked at the World Bank on trade negotiations between Morocco and the European Union, as a consultant for several nonprofit organizations in developing countries, and as founder of a business skills training institute for women in west Africa.

She has been awarded a Queen’s Jubilee Medal for service by the Government of Canada, and is the youngest person ever to receive the Order of British Columbia.

Courses Taught:

Managing Global Health: Design, Delivery and Evaluation

Field Experiments

Research Interests: decision making, economic development, experimental economics

Select Publications:

Ashraf, Nava, James Berry, and Jesse M. Shapiro. “Can Higher Prices Stimulate Product Use? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Zambia.” American Economic Review (forthcoming).

Ashraf, Nava, Xavier Gine, and Dean Karlan. “Finding Missing Markets (and a Disturbing Epilogue): Evidence from an Export Crop Adoption and Marketing Intervention in Kenya.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 91, no. 4 (November 2009).

Ashraf, Nava. “Spousal Control and Intra-Household Decision Making: An Experimental Study in the Philippines.” American Economic Review 99, no. 4 (September 2009): 1245-1277.

Ashraf, Nava, Iris Bohnet, and Nikita Piankov. “Decomposing Trust and Trustworthiness.” Experimental Economics 9, no. 3 (September 2006).

Ashraf, Nava, Dean Karlan, and Wesley Yin. “Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 121, no. 2 (May 2006). (Winner of the 2006 TIAA-CREF Paul A. Samuelson Award Certificate of Excellence.)

Ashraf, Nava, Dean Karlan, and Wesley Yin. “Deposit Collectors.” Art. 5. Special Issue on Field Experiments. Advances in Economic Analysis & Policy 6, no. 2 (2006).

Ashraf, Nava, Colin Camerer, and George Loewenstein. “Adam Smith, Behavioral Economist.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 19, no. 3 (summer 2005). (Read an interview about this article in HBS Working Knowledge.)


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