Natalie Bau

Assistant Professor

Department of Economics


I am an assistant professor at UCLA, a CEPR research fellow, a NBER faculty research fellow, and a former CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar. I am interested in development and education economics with a special emphasis on the industrial organization of education markets.


Research Statement

Working Papers

Misallocation and Capital Market Integration: Evidence From India (with Adrien Matray)
Revision Requested by Econometrica
Related popular writing: VoxDev (re-posted on Ideas for India), VoxEU

Women's Well-being During a Pandemic and its Containment (with Gaurav Khanna, Corinne Low, Manisha Shah, Sreyashi Sharmin, and Alessandra Voena)

Revision Requested by the Journal of Development Economics

Popular writing: Ideas for India, VoxEU

The Family as a Social Institution (with Raquel Fernández)
In Preparation for the Handbook of Family Economics

Affirmative Action and Pre-College Human Capital (with Mitra Akhtari and Jean-William Laliberté)

Human Capital Investment in the Presence of Child Labor (with Martin Rotemberg, Manisha Shah, and Bryce Steinberg)

Crowding in Private Quality: The Equilibrium Effects of Public Spending in Education (with Tahir Andrabi, Jishnu Das, Naureen Karachiwalla, and Asim Khwaja)

Private Schooling, Learning, and Civic Values in a Low-Income Country (with Tahir Andrabi, Jishnu Das, and Asim Khwaja)
Formerly "Are Bad Public Schools Public 'Bads?' Test Scores and Civic Values in Public and Private Schools"


Estimating An Equilibrium Model of Horizontal Competition in Education
by the Journal of Political Economy
Formerly "School Competition and Product Differentiation"
Related popular writing:
World Bank Development Impact Blog, VoxDev, UCLA Research Spotlight

Can Policy Change Culture? Government Pension Plans and Traditional Kinship Practices [Online Appendix]
American Economic Review, 2021, vol. 111, no. 6.
Formerly "Can Policy Crowd Out Culture?" and "Cultural Norms, Strategic Behavior, and Human Capital Investment."
Coverage: World Bank Development Impact Blog, VoxEU, AEA Podcast

New Evidence on Learning Trajectories in a Low-Income Setting (with Andres Yi Chang and Jishnu Das).
International Journal of Educational Development, 2021, vol. 84.
Related popular writing: Let's Talk Development, Dawn

Negotiating a Better Future: How Interpersonal Skills Facilitate Inter-Generational Investment (With Nava Ashraf, Corinne Low, and Kathleen McGinn)
Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2020, vol. 135, no. 2.
Coverage: NPR, World Bank Development Impact Blog

Bride Price and Female Education (with Nava Ashraf, Nathan Nunn, and Alessandra Voena),
Journal of Political Economy, 2020, vol. 28, no. 2.
Related popular writing: IGC blog, The Conversation, CIFAR newsletter
Additional Data: Following JPE policy, replication files are available on the JPE website. Additional data on the number of public schools established in each district of Zambia by year can be downloaded here. Counts are based on 2013 administrative data from the Zambian Ministry of Education and may not include schools that closed before 2013. Please cite Ashraf, Bau, Nunn, and Voena (2020) if you use these data.

Teacher Value-Added in a Low-Income Country (with Jishnu Das),
AEJ: Economic Policy, 2020, vol. 12, no. 1.
Formerly "The Misallocation of Pay and Productivity in the Public Sector: Evidence from the Labor Market for Teachers."
Working paper with more discussion of contract teacher policy.
Related popular writing: VoxDev, World Bank Digest, The Economist