I am an applied micro economist and my research focuses on the study of public policy and education markets. I design and evaluate public policies using a mix of experimental methods together with the estimation of structural microeconomic models of firm and consumer behavior.

I work at Princeton University, where I have a joint appointment at the Economics Department and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. I am a member of the Industrial Relations Section and Education Research Section at Princeton University and a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research IO program as well as an affiliate of the J-PAL network. 

To see my CV, click here

A theme in my research agenda is to focus on working with governments and administrative offices that are currently designing or implementing policies that are relevant to my areas of interest. This relationship with policymakers will often present the opportunity to influence the design of the policy, both to potentially improve it based on prior evidence as well as to facilitate ex post evaluation. The MineduLAB I helped start with JPAL and IPA in Peru is an example (Read more here, here or here). 

In my recent research I have studied how consumer knowledge and beliefs affect choices and how policy interventions can generate shifts in consumer and provider behavior at the individual level by shifting these beliefs or by making choices and participation easier. The rigorous modeling of the limitations faced when consumers make choices provides and avenue to extrapolate how providers will respond to aggregate demand changes and thus to general equilibrium effects.  With my coauthors, I have applied these ideas to the study of student assignment mechanisms in New Haven CT, college major choice in Chile, school choice in Peru and school dropout in Dominican Republic. In each case I work with governments to leveraging the development of large administrative data systems and help design and evaluate important new policy changes. The AVE project in Dominican Republic is one example (website, survey website).  My project DFM in Peru is another example (website, video).

Christopher Neilson
Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Affairs