Nava Ashraf, PhD, conducts research combining 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.
She received her PhD in Economics from Harvard University in 2005, and her BA in Economics and International Relations from Stanford University. 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. Her research is published in leading journals including the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics and the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
Professor Ashraf teaches a second year MBA course in Managing Global Health: Design, Delivery and Evaluation, and a University-wide Ph.D. course in Field Experiments. She has also 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.