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kate.orkin[at]merton.ox.ac.uk
Merton College, Merton Street
Oxford, OX1 4JD
United Kingdom







I am the Peter J. Braam Junior Research Fellow in Global Wellbeing at Merton College and a Post-Doctoral Researcher in the Department of Economics at the University of Oxford. I am a core research team member at the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford and an affiliate at the Busara Centre for Behavioural Economics in Nairobi and the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit at the University of Cape Town.

I work in applied microeconomics in Africa, particularly in labour, education, and agriculture. My research examines the role of information and psychological motivation in economic and political decisions of poor people in Africa. 

Some of my PhD work shows that psychological factors, specifically people’s expectations and beliefs about their own competence, directly affect economic choices. 


I am expanding this research to examine whether integrating informational and psychological interventions into existing anti-poverty programmes enhances the effect of these programmes. Some current projects examine:
  • Whether low-cost motivational documentaries improve aspirations and sense of control (Ethiopia) and whether these improvements affect long-run investments, such as use of unconditional cash transfers (Kenya) and take-up of agricultural technologies (Ethiopia). 
  • How different voter education messages affect political knowledge and aspirations, voter behaviour and political participation (urban South Africa).
  • Whether providing information about the cognitive and non-cognitive skills of unemployed youth changes their job-search behaviour and firms' hiring and productivity (urban South Africa).