Pieter Serneels                                                   

University of East Anglia                                                 


I am a Professor of Economics at the University of East AngliaMy research focuses on human capital, behavioural economics, and political economy in low and middle income countries.  I teach microeconomics, development economics, econometrics, and economics of education at the graduate and undergraduate level, and co-direct the MSc in Development Economics.

I provide research advice to the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) as their Economics Senior Research Fellow, and to Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) at the Blavatnik School of Government Oxford. I am also executive member of CBESSResearch Fellow at IZA, EUDN and EGAP, and Research Associate at CSAE.

You can email me at p.serneels@uea.ac.uk. 
Below is a list of my on-going and published research.

Together with colleagues from the Behavioural and Experimental Development Economics Research Group (BEDERG) at UEA and FAIR, Bergen we organise the annual PhD workshop on Experimental Development Economics: Lab-in-the Field which takes place each year in April or May. We also hosted the Symposium on Economic Experiments in Developing Countries (SEEDEC) 2017.

Occasional blogs

Does Education Increase Social Mobility? Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE)
Pieter Serneels, December 2019

Power to the PlanWorld Bank Development Impact Blog; Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences
Clare Leaver, Owen Ozier, Pieter Serneels, Andrew Zeitlin, December 2018

Who do politicians respond to when expanding education? Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE)
Pieter Serneels, October 2018

On-going research 

Recruitment, effort and retention effect of performance contracts for civil servants. Experimental evidence from Rwandan primary schools (2019)

Clare Leaver, Owen Ozier, Pieter Serneels, Andrew Zeitlin
Submitted. Pre-analysis plan registered here.  
discussion of first results at the World Bank Impact blog 'If you pay teachers based on performance do you get better teachers, or do they work harder?

Aspirations, Poverty and  Education. Evidence from India. (2020)

Pieter Serneels, Stefan Dercon 

Revise & resubmit

Updated version  of the paper. A previous version appeared as Young Lives Working Paper 125 

Information and collective action in the community monitoring of schools. Field and lab experimental evidence from Uganda. (2020)

Abigail Barr, Frederick Mungisha, Pieter Serneels, Andrew Zeitlin

Working Paper, under revision.

Diabetes, employment and behavioural risk factors in China: Marginal structural models versus fixed effects models  (2020)
Till Seuring, Pieter Serneels, Marc Suhrcke, Max Bachmann. 
Revise and resubmit

Malaria insurance at the workplace. Experimental evidence from Nigeria. (2018)

Oladele Akogun, Andrew Dillon, Jed Friedman, Ashesh Prasann, Pieter Serneels 

Working paper. Preliminary results are discussed in a blog at the conversation

Robustness and External Validity: What do we Learn from Replication over time. (2018)

Adeyon Adelina, Oladele Akogun, Andrew Dillon, Jed Friedman., Sani Niobdi, Pieter Serneels

Working paper

Does migration from a developing country to UK increase immigrants' risk of obesity? (2020)

Girmaye Dessie, Marcello Morciano, Pieter Serneels, Marc Suhrcke

Working paper

The Impact of a Workplace Based Malaria Treatment Program in Nigeria. (2016)

Oladele Akogun, Andrew Dillon, Jed Friedman, Pieter Serneels

Working paper 

Public service in hardship destinations. The role of wages,nonwage job attributes and motivation. (2015)

Pieter Serneels, Abigail Barr, Jose Garcia Montalvo, Magnus Lindelow

Working Paper.

Preventive or Curative Treatment of Malaria? Evidence from Agricultural Workers in Nigeria. (2014)

Andrew Dillon, Richard Horan, Pieter Serneels, Francis Smart, 


Unemployment Duration, Job Search and Labour Market Segmentation in a Developing Country. (2014) 

Pieter Serneels

Do women supply more labour when men are unemployed?
Pieter Serneels
previous version appeared as CSAE Working Paper 2002-14

Organizational Culture and Economic Development. Evidence from lab-in-the-field experiments.

Pieter Serneels

Journal publications

alth Information, treatment, and worker productivity. (2020)
Andrew Dillon, Jed Friedman, Pieter Serneels
Journal of the European Economic Association, pre-published hereprevious version appeared as World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 7120University of Oxford CSAE Working Paper 2014-13IZA Discussion Paper 8074, and is discussed by Markus Goldstein, in his blog titled 'What you don't know can hurt you - Malaria edition'

Productivity and Health: Alternative Productivity Measures using Physical Activity.
Oladele Akogun, Andrew Dillon, Jed Friedman, Ashesh Prasann, Pieter Serneels
World Bank Economic Review, forthcoming. Previous version available as Global Poverty Research Lab Working Paper 20-101World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 8228IZA Discussion Paper 11115. Key findings of the paper were discussed as 'How hard are they working?' at the World Bank Impact blog and in a blog at the Conversation

The impact of diabetes on labour market outcomes in Mexico: a panel and biomarker data analysis.
Till Seuring, Pieter Serneels, Marc Suhrcke
Social Science and Medicine, Vol 233, July 2019, p252-261. A previous version appeared as IZA Discussion Paper 10123York University Centre for Health Economics Research Paper 134.

Pay for locally monitored performance? A welfare analysis for teacher attendance in Uganda primary schools. (2018)

Jacobus Cilliers, Ibrahim Kasirye, Clare Leaver, Pieter Serneels, Andrew Zeitlin 

Microeconomic Institutions for Health Care Delivery. (2018)
Pieter Serneels, Tomas Lievens 

Do returns to education depend on how and who you ask? (2017)
Pieter Serneels, Kathleen Beegle, Andrew Dillon
See here for David Evans' blog summary in his round-up of new research on education. Previous versions came out as World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 7747 and IZA Discussion Paper 10002. 

The impact of armed conflict on economic performance. Evidence from Rwanda (2015)

Pieter Serneels, Marijke Verpoorten

Journal of Conflict Resolution 59,4,555-592, 

The Autumn Newsletter 2012 of the Center for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University provides a non-technical summary.

Explaining variation in child labor statistics. (2012)

Andrew Dillon, Elena Bardasi, Kathleen Beegle, Pieter Serneels 

Journal of Development Economics 98(1):136-147 

Intrinsic Motivations and the Nonprofit Health Sector. (2011)

Danila Serra, Pieter Serneels, Abigail Barr

Do labor statistics depend on how and to whom the question was asked? Results from a randomized survey experiment. (2011)
Elena Bardasi, Kathleen Beegle, Andre Dillon, Pieter Serneels
The paper was discussed in a blog by Markus Goldstein and in another blog by Gabriel Demombynes

Who wants to work in a rural health post? The role of intrinsic motivation, rural background and faith based institutions in Rwanda and Ethiopia. (2010)
Pieter Serneels, Jose Garcia Montalvo, Gunilla Pettersson, Tomas Lievens, Damas Butera, Aklilu Kidanu

Reciprocity in the workplace. (2009)

Abigail Barr, Pieter Serneels

Corruption in public service delivery: an experimental analysis. (2009)

Abigail Barr, Magnus Lindelow, Pieter Serneels

Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization, 72 (1) 225-239

Book review "Globalization, Labor Markets and Inequality in India" (2009)
Pieter Serneels 

Human capital revisited: the role of experience and education when controlling for performance and cognitive skills. (2008)

Pieter Serneels

Labour Economics, 15, 1143-1161

The nature of unemployment among young men in urban Ethiopia (2007)

Pieter Serneels

Review of Development Economics, 11 (1), 170-183.

For public service or for money: understanding geographical imbalances in the health workforce.(2007)

Pieter Serneels, Jose Garcia Montalvo, Magnus Lindelow, Abigail Barr

Health Policy and Planning, 22(3),128-138.  

A longer version appeared as World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3686

The Performance of health workers in Ethiopia (2005)

Magnus Lindelow, Pieter Serneels

Books and monographs

Creating incentives to work. Ghana Health Worker Study (2012)

Tomas Lievens, Pieter Serneels, SabinaGarbarino., Peter Quartey

The World Bank, Washington DC

Tomas Lievens, Pieter Serneels and Jean Damascene Butera
The World Bank, Washington DC

Discovering the Real World – Health Workers’ Early Work Experience and Career Preferences in Ethiopia (2010)

Danila Serra, Pieter Serneels, Magnus Lindelow, Jose Garcia Montalvo

The World Bank, Washington DC

Pierella Paci, Pieter Serneels (eds)

The World Bank, Washington DC

Health Workers in Rwanda. (2006)

Tomas Lievens, Pieter Serneels
The World Bank

Pieter Serneels, Magnus Lindelow, Jose Garcia Montalvo, A.bigail Barr 
The World Bank

Book chapters 

Labor Supply, absenteeism and occupational choice of health workers, Theory (Part I) and Evidence (Part II), (2016)
Pieter Serneels, Tomas Lievens, Damas Butera
in Herbst C., R. Scheffler, C. Lemiere, J. Campbell'Health Worker Labor Market Analysis. An Evidence Based Approach'The World Bank and University of California Berkeley

Pieter Serneels
in Culyer A.J. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Health Economics, Vol 2. San Diego: Elsevier 2014 pp. 91-102.

The role of motivation for health service delivery. (2012) 
Ken Leonard, Pieter Serneels, Michelle Brock
in Soucat A., R. Scheffler, T.A. Gebreyesus'The Labor Market for Health Workers in Africa. A New Look at the Crisis', The World Bank and University of California Berkeley.

Working for the public or private sector? Or for both? (2012)
Tim Ensor, Pieter Serneels, Tomas Lievens
in Soucat A., R. Scheffler, T.A. Gebreyesus'The Labor Market for Health Workers in Africa. A New Look at the Crisis', The World Bank and University of California Berkeley.
Health worker performance. (2012)
Ken Leonard, Melkiori Masatu, Pieter Serneels
in Soucat A., R. Scheffler, T.A. Gebreyesus 'The Labor Market for Health Workers in Africa. A New Look at the Crisis', The World Bank and University of California Berkeley.

Understanding health workforce issues: a selective guide to the use of qualitative methods (2009)

Tomas Lievens, Magnus Lindelow, Pieter Serneels

in DalPoz M. and A. Soucat, 'Handbook on Monitoring and Evaluation of Human Resources for  Health', World Health Organization and The World Bank

Does employment generation really matter for poverty reduction? (2009)

Catalina Gutierrez, Carlo Orecchia, Pierella Paci, Pieter Serneels

In Kanbur R. and J. Svejnar Labor Markets and Economic Development', Routledge. (An earlier version appeared as World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 4432)     

Qualitative research to inform quantitative analysis: health workers’ absenteeism in two countries.(2008)

Pieter Serneels, Magnus Lindelow, Tomas Lievens

in Amin, S., J. Das and M. Goldstein ‘Are You Being Served? New Tools for Measuring Service Delivery', The World Bank

Labor, growth and poverty. (2007)

Pierella Paci, Pieter Serneels

in Paci and Serneels, Employment and Shared Growth. The Role of Labour Mobility for Development, The World Bank, Washington DC

African poverty through the lens of labor economics: earnings and mobility in three countries.(2007)

Justin Sandefur, Pieter Serneels, Francis Teal, 

in Paci and Serneels, Employment and Shared Growth. The Role of Labour Mobility for Development, The World Bank, Washington DC. (A previous version appeared as GPRG Working Paper 060)

Background and Policy Papers

Teacher Performance and Activity in Upper Primary Education in Rwanda, A Pilot Study on Measurement, Evaluation, and the Potential of Performance Pay.(2016)
Robbie Dean, David Johnson, Olive M. K. Kemirembe, Clare Leaver, Emmanuel Musafiri, Owen Ozier, Pieter Serneels, Philipp Wollburg, Andrew Zeitlin

Participatory Monitoring of Public Servants by Beneficiaries. Insights from Education Services.(2013)
Pieter Serneels, Andrew Zeitlin, Abigail Barr 
Background Paper for World Development Report 2015.

Strengthening Public Sector Performance Contracts.(2014)

Radhika GoyalClare Leaver, Sally Murray, Pieter Serneels, Andrew Zeitlin

Update of IGC Rapid Response Paper

Improving Teacher Attendance using a Locally Managed Monitoring Scheme: Evidence from Ugandan Primary Schools.(2013)
Jacobus Cillier, Ibrahim Kasirye, Clare Leaver, Pieter Serneels, Andrew Zeitlin 
Research Report

Catalina Gutierrez, Pieter Serneels
The World Bank

The role of the labour market for shared growth in Ghana, country labor study.(2007) 

Pieter Serneels

The World Bank

Strategy Choice and Cognitive Ability in Field Experiments.(2005)
Abigail Barr, Magnus Lindelow, Jose Garcia Montalvo, Pieter Serneels 


The Intrigue by James Ensor

Erasmus on Academia

"But people who use their erudition to write for a learned minority … don’t seem to me favoured by fortune but rather to be pitied for their continuous self-torture. They add, change, remove, lay aside, take up, rephrase, show to their friends, keep for nine years, and are never satisfied. And their futile reward, a word of praise from a handful of people, they win at such a cost – so many late nights, such loss of sleep, sweetest of all things, and so much sweat and anguish. Then their health deteriorates, their looks are destroyed, they suffer partial or total blindness, poverty, ill will, denial of pleasure, premature old age, and early death, and any other such disaster there may be. Yet the wise man believes he is compensated for everything if he wins the approval of one or another purblind scholar.’"

Erasmus, 1515, Praise of Folly