Hee Kwon Seo ("Samuel")
Research Economist, World Bank
Ph.D. Economics, Chicago Booth
A.B. Applied Mathematics, Harvard

About me

I am an economist at the Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) group under the Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC) of the World Bank.

I received my PhD at the University of Chicago advised by Michael Greenstone (chair), Marianne Bertrand, Canice Prendergast, and Michael Dinerstein.

CV (PDF)Contact

Research at a Glance

My research spans across development topics--from education and poverty alleviation to energy, infrastructure and climate change--combining models of economic behavior with data to understand how communities cope with challenges and may achieve more efficient and equitable results.  In the education and infrastructure space, I have been evaluating two projects in Tanzanian since 2015.  One evaluation provided solar electricity and digital media to off-grid schools, quantifying achievement effects.  Another evaluation, motivated by low achievement rates in high-school mathematics (more than 80% failing to pass), provided a mix of traditional and technology-based learning materials as well as scholarships to understand (1) structural learning barriers and (2) how student responses to these provisions broken down by question type may be used to inform national curriculum design (in progress).  In the poverty-alleviation space, with co-author Justin Leung, I have been studying how providing electric benefits for food (US’ second largest welfare program) affects retail prices and welfare nationwide.  Also in the infrastructure space, I have been part of a team evaluating the social impact of Dar es Salaam’s Bus-Rapid-Transit (BRT) infrastructure within the context of Tanzania’s Second Central Transport Corridor Project and Urban Transport Project.  Finally, with the Climate Impact Lab, I have been studying how climate shocks affect mortality rates and adaptation costs in different nations across the globe—and how communities may respond to these challenges in more efficient and equitable manners.  I'd like to welcome partnerships on works broadly across topics including, but not limited to, infrastructure, climate change and conscientious growth (socially and environmentally responsible growth).

Working Papers and Research in Progress

Fellowships and Awards
  • 2013-20: Chicago Booth Ph.D. Scholarship and Research Funding Support
  • 2017-19: Katherine Dusak Miller Ph.D. Fellowship
  • 2013: James and Catheleen Stone Prize for best senior thesis in environmental and energy economics
  • 2012: PRIMO Fellowship
  • 2012: Harvard College Scholarship

Volunteer Experience
  • 2014-20: HOPAN (church for homeless neighbors in Uptown, Chicago), Volunteer

Other Employment
  • 2009-11: Republic of Korea Army, honorably discharged in the rank of Sergeant


© 2020 Hee Kwon Seo