Faculty Director

Deputy Directors

    Christopher Blattman, Chang-Tai Hsieh

Description

Innovations, both technological and social, are essential for addressing our most pressing global challenges and improving the well-being of millions of people around the world. The expected social returns to investing in innovation are often significantly higher than potential commercial incentives. This creates opportunities for governments, multilateral institutions and philanthropies to leverage meta-innovations, mechanisms for encouraging innovation development and scaling, to enhance the public good. However, they often lack reliable and relevant explanations and evidence to help inform their decision-making.

  • How does one set-up and operate an open, tied, evidence-based, social innovation fund?
  • Under what circumstances are each type of market shaping mechanism most effective for accelerating innovation?
  • Which innovations most cost-effectively save lives, improve well-being, or advance other policy priorities?
  • What are the barriers and potential pathways to scale for a tested innovation?

In addition, many low- and lower-middle-income countries confront a common set of challenges, and policymakers in those countries often similarly lack reliable and relevant explanations and evidence to help inform their decision-making.

  • What is the right mix of policies, investments, and incentives needed to spur growth?
  • How can policymakers ensure that prosperity is widely distributed and addresses the most extreme forms of poverty?
  • What policies promote more effective government and more free societies?
  • How can societies prevent and respond to economic and political instability?

The Development Economics Center uses the tools of economics to identify, test, refine, and scale innovations with the potential to benefit millions of people. The Center unites researchers from the Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy, the Law School and others across the UChicago community for a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to understanding and accelerating innovation and development. Through rigorous research and active engagement with governments, firms, social sector organizations, and other stakeholders, UChicago scholars advance the frontiers of research and have real world impact.

The Center builds on the work of BFI’s Development Economics Research Initiative in cultivating the broader innovation and development community on campus and throughout the region. The Center works closely with other UChicago Institutes, Centers, Labs and Initiatives as well as relevant student organizations. It has added a new Development Economics Research Fund to prioritize development economics research by UChicago PhD students and junior faculty. The Center also serves as a coordinating platform for the Development Innovation Lab (DIL), the Innovation Commission for Climate Change, Food Security and Agriculture, the Market Shaping Accelerator and the Weiss Fund for Research in Development Economics.

2022-23 Field Requirements


DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS RESEARCH FUND

Call for Proposals 

The Development Economics Research Fund (DERF) is financially supported by the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago and the Development Innovation Lab and aims to sponsor research in the field of development economics at the University of Chicago. Learn More


Affiliates

The Development Innovation Lab uses the tools of economics to develop innovations with the potential to benefit millions of people in low- and middle-income countries. We bring researchers in different fields together with governments, firms and non-profit organizations to identify, test, refine and scale innovations.

The Innovation Commission for Climate Change, Food Security and Agriculture brings together former heads of state and cabinet ministers as well as leaders of international organizations and the private sector to identify high return investments in innovation for climate mitigation and adaptation in agriculture and food security and propose institutional mechanisms to take them to scale.

The Market Shaping Accelerator supports governments, multilateral institutions and philanthropies to harness the energy and creativity of the private sector to develop innovations to solve global challenges.

The Weiss Fund for Research in Development Economics supports research by students and ladder faculty working in development economics, broadly defined, funding projects that address a wide range of issues affecting less developed countries.

Associated Scholars

Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Anjali Adukia

Assistant Professor, Harris Public Policy
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Maria Angélica Bautista

Assistant Professor, Harris Public Policy
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Marianne Bertrand

Chris P. Dialynas Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and Willard Graham Faculty Scholar, Chicago Booth
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Christopher Blattman

Ramalee E. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies, Harris School of Public Policy; Deputy Director of BFI Development Economics Center
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Fiona Burlig

Assistant Professor, Harris Public Policy
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Leonardo Bursztyn

Saieh Family Professor, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics; Co-Director of BFI Political Economics Initiative
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Adam Chilton

Assistant Professor of Law, Walter Mander Research Scholar, The Law School
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Emanuele Colonnelli

Associate Professor of Finance and MV Advisors Faculty Fellow, Chicago Booth
Scholars /

Ryan Cooper

Director, The Weiss Fund for Research in Development Economics
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Joshua Dean

Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics, Booth School of Business
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Rebecca Dizon-Ross

Associate Professor of Economics, Booth School of Business
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Oeindrila Dube

Philip K. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies, Harris Public Policy; Director of BFI Initiative for the Study of Gender in the Economy
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Tom Ginsburg

Leo Spitz Distinguished Service Professor, The Law School
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Rachel Glennerster

Associate Professor, Division of the Social Sciences and the College
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Michael Greenstone

The Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics and Harris Public Policy; Director of the UChicago Climate and Energy Institute
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Richard Hornbeck

V. Duane Rath Professor of Economics, Booth School of Business
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Chang-Tai Hsieh

Phyllis and Irwin Winkelried Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago Booth School of Business; Deputy Director of BFI Development Economics Center
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Amir Jina

Assistant Professor, Harris Public Policy
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Anne Karing

Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Economics, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Michael Kremer

University Professor in Economics and the College and the Harris School of Public Policy, Director of the Development Innovation Lab
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Anup Malani

Lee and Brena Freeman Professor of Law, The Law School
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Luis Martínez

Assistant Professor, Harris Public Policy
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Ethan Bueno de Mesquita

Sydney Stein Professor and Interim Dean, Harris Public Policy
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Eduardo Montero

Assistant Professor, Harris Public Policy
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Roger Myerson

David L. Pearson Distinguished Service Professor of Global Conflict Studies, Harris Public Policy
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Eric Posner

Kirkland & Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law, Arthur and Esther Kane Research Chair, The Law School
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

James Robinson

The Reverend Dr. Richard L. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict; Institute Director, The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts, Harris Public Policy
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Raul Sanchez de la Sierra

Assistant Professor, Harris Public Policy
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Konstantin Sonin

John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor, Harris Public Policy; Co-Director of BFI Political Economics Initiative
Scholars / UChicago Scholar

Austin Wright

Assistant Professor, Harris Public Policy

Associated Working Papers

BFI Working Paper, Development Innovation Lab Jan 30, 2024

Digital Information Provision and Behavior Change: Lessons from Six Experiments in East Africa

Raissa Fabregas, Michael Kremer, Matthew Lowes, Robert On, Giulia Zane
Topics:  Development Economics, Technology & Innovation
BFI Working Paper Jan 16, 2024

Quantifying the Social Value of a Universal COVID-19 Vaccine and Incentivizing Its Development

Rachel Glennerster, Thomas Kelly, Claire McMahon, Christopher Snyder
Topics:  COVID-19
BFI Working Paper Sep 20, 2023

Private Actions in the Presence of Externalities: The Health Impacts of Reducing Air Pollution Peaks but not Ambient Exposure

Susanna B. Berkouwer, Joshua Dean
Topics:  Health care, Energy & Environment, Development Economics

Associated Insights

Associated News

Press Release Oct 17, 2023

Innovation Commission promotes improved weather forecasts for farmers during COP28 Reception on World Food Day

ROME, October 17, 2023 – On World Food Day, the Innovation Commission called for investments to procure and deliver improved weather forecasts to farmers during a COP28 reception hosted...
Topics:  Development Economics
Press Release May 10, 2023

Development Innovation Lab at UChicago Launches Innovation Commission for Climate
Chang​​e, Food Security and Agriculture

CHICAGO & WASHINGTON, DC, May 10, 2023 – The Development Innovation Lab at University of Chicago is pleased to announce the launch of a new Innovation Commission for Climate...
Media Mention May 7, 2023

Policies to improve global learning

Vox; Rachel Glennerster