I work with development finance at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Growth and Employment. From 2014-2018 I was posted at the Danish embassy in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, doing work on justice and security (2014-15) and growth in the acricultural sector (2016-18). I occasionally carry out reviews for journals and 3iE.  You can follow me on twitter.

Prior to joining the Ministry, I worked as microfinance and evaluation adviser at DanChurchAid, a Danish non-missionary NGO with activities in 20 countries. I hold a PhD in Economics from the University of Southern Denmark as well as an MA in Political Science from University of Copenhagen.

In September 2012 I recorded a talk on global poverty for the Danish public television. It's in Danish and the title is "Poverty and rye bread" or Fattigdom og rugbrød.

More info at Google Scholar.

In Peer-Reviewed Journals

Impact of Village Savings and Loan Associations: Evidence from a cluster randomized trial in Journal of Development Economics (with Christopher Ksoll, Helene Bie Lilleør and Jonas Helth Lønborg), vol 120, May 2016, Pages 70–85. Article at ScienceDirect.

The vast majority of the world's poor live in rural areas of developing countries with little access to financial services. Setting up Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) has become an increasingly widespread intervention aimed at improving local financial intermediation. Using a cluster randomized trial we investigate the impact of VSLAs in Northern Malawi over a two year period. We find evidence of positive and significant intention-to-treat effects on several outcomes, including the number of meals consumed per day, household expenditure as measured by the USAID Poverty Assessment Tool, and the number of rooms in the dwelling. This effect is linked to an increase in savings and credit obtained through the VSLAs, which has increased agricultural investments and income from small businesses.

Reaching the poorest is an important objective in many development interventions, and microfinance is no exception. We review performance indicators for effectiveness of targeting described in the literature and suggest a new metric in order to account for extent and severity of poverty as well as the income distribution among the poor. When applying this to a panel dataset from a community-managed microfinance intervention in Northern Malawi, we find regressive targeting: Participants are less poor than the general population in the area. In addition, we provide suggestions as to when and why the poor exit the project.

The identifiable victim effect in charitable giving: evidence from a natural field experiment in Applied Economics (with Tine Lesner). vol. 46, 2014, iss. 36, pp. 4409-4430. Article at Taylor and Francis.

We design a natural field experiment to enhance our understanding of the role of the identifiable victim effect in charitable giving. Using direct mail solicitations to 25 797 prior donors of a nonprofit charity, we tested the responsiveness of donors to make a contribution to either an identifiable or a statistical victim. Unlike much previous research, which has used only laboratory experiments, we find that the campaign letter focusing on one identifiable victim did not result in significantly larger donations than the campaign letter focusing on the statistical victim. In addition to the role of the identifiable victim, we investigate the degree to which each of our campaign letters affected donors’ payments to other concurrent and future campaigns and whether there is decreasing marginal returns to campaigning in the sense that receiving a letter crowds out donors’ payments to other future and concurrent campaigns. We find some evidence of crowding out, indicating that charitable giving could be a zero-sum game; however, the treatment letters did not have different effects on other payments.

Walking the talk: the need for a trial registry for development interventions 2011 in Journal of Development Effectiveness (with Nikolaj Malchow-Møller and Thomas Barnebeck Andersen). vol. 46, iss. 36pp 502-519. Working paper version. Article at Taylor and Francis' website.

Recent advances in the use of randomised control trials to evaluate the effect of development interventions promise to enhance our knowledge of what works and why. A core argument supporting randomised studies is the claim that they have high internal validity. We argue that this claim is weak as long as a trial registry of development interventions is not in place. Without a trial registry, the possibilities for data mining, created by analyses of multiple outcomes and subgroups, undermine the internal validity. Drawing on experience from evidence-based medicine and recent examples from microfinance, we argue that a trial registry would also enhance external validity and foster innovative research.

The paper has been cited in:

Small groups, large profits: Calculating interest rates in community-managed microfinance in Enterprise Development and Microfinance, vol 23, iss. 4, 2012

It is common to see the interest rate on savings in community-managed microfinance reported as "20-30% annually". Using panel data from 204 groups in Malawi, I show that the right figure is likely to be at least twice this figure. This is due to non-standard interest rate calculation and unrealistic assumptions about the savings profile in the groups. In the 204 groups, the annual interest rate on savings is 63% using standard financial calculations. This finding has several consequences. In general, it proves that community-managed microfinance is indeed a very profitable savings alternative in rural areas, in particular for the participants who only saves and who are normally believed to be among the poorest.  Governments and donors should require that interest rates are reported correctly to ensure transparency and comparability as community-managed microfinance grows. Also, current efforts to make monitoring and reporting online should take these calculations into account and use proper reporting of interest rates. Finally, multiplying the interest rate on savings by two still leaves a large unexplained difference between the interest rate on savings and the interest rate on loans. These funds might disappear due to low repayment rates, relaxed repayment schedules or theft, even though none of these are present in current reporting. This is a topic for future research.

Working Papers
The impact of community-managed microfinance in rural Malawi. Evidence from a cluster randomized control trial with Christopher Ksoll, Helene Bie Lilleør, Jonas Helth Lønborg,

Other Publications
Edited book: 10x10, Cambrigde Scholar's Publishing, UK (with Ole Wæver and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen).

To create an alternative listing of great books, we asked ten great social scientists to describe the ten works that inspired them the most using one page per work. Ten very interesting people said yes, among them the two Nobel Laurates James Buchanan and Elinor Ostrom. Others include Kenneth Waltz, B. Guy Peters, Chantal Mouffe, Joseph H.H. Weiler, Kalevi Holsti, Kenneth Waltz and Thomas Hylland Eriksen among others.

The Economics of Savings and Loan Associations. Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Malawi, 2013, PhD Thesis, Syddansk Universitet

Articles in Newspapers
Stor ståhej om mikroskopiske lån i bistandsarbejdet, Kristeligt Dagblad (kronik), February 1, 2011 (with Nikolaj Malchow-Møller og Thomas Barnebeck Andersen)

Fra store ord til små lån, Berlingske Tidende (kronik), December 12, 2006 (with Mogens Lykketoft and Kasper Graa Wulff).

Gæld gør godt i Benin; Der er business i bistand; Danske banker låner ikke til fattige i DJØF-Bladet, nr 20, November 21, 2006 (with Thomas Skovgaard Pedersen).

Fascinerende finanser. Udvikling (6) 2009, page 21. Review of Portfolios of the Poor.

All journalistic publications are not listed here.