I am a Professor of Economics at the University of Essex. My papers and my CV can be downloaded at https://www.iza.org/person/2905/sonia-r-bhalotra

My research uses micro-data, often longitudinal, from the UK, several developing countries and early twentieth century America, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. I am interested in the creation of human capital, early childhood development, the long benefits of early life health interventions, gender inequality, the political economy of public service provision, intergenerational mobility and the dynamics of mortality, fertility and sex selection.  

I am PI on a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant, Co-Investigator and Co-Director of the ESRC Centre for Microsocial Change (housed in the Institute for Social and Economic Research) and Co-Investigator on an ESRC-funded Programme on Human Rights, Big Data and Technology (based in the Human Rights Centre in Law), both at Essex. I was recently a Principal Investigator on a large Grand Challenges Canada award on early life risk factors and cognitive development, in a consortium hosted by the University of Pennsylvania. I currently also hold other research awards from the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), the RCUK-Newton fund, the British Academy, the Bank of Sweden Research Department and the International Growth Centre. I am working with a team running a follow up of a randomized control trial funded by the National Institute of Health USA.

My ongoing and recent work contributes to research in the following domains:

§            Child development: early life risk factors, cognitive development, health, survival, maternal health, maternal depression, maternal behaviours.
§            Health including "global health": infant mortality, maternal mortality, mental  health, access to antibiotics, clean water, fetal exposure to temperature extremes, environmental risk factors in early life.
§            Lifecourse dynamics and intergenerational mobility: Long run socio-economic impacts of early life health interventions, intergenerational transmission of health, the role of marriage and fertility.
§            Gender (and family economics): women's property rights, gender differences in preferences, abortion, domestic violence, dowry, maternal mortality, maternal depression, fertility, gender wage gaps, political representation of women.
§            Political economy of public service provision: political identity, substantive impacts of numerical representation of women and minorities, role model effects, the politics of ethnic violence.
§            Program evaluation, land reform, civil conflict.

I am Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, a CROP (Bergen) Research Fellow, Research Fellow at SFI Denmark, Visiting Professor at the University of Gothenburg Sweden, on the International Advisory Boards of Academics Stand Against Poverty (Yale), the Goettingen India Centre (Germany) the Millennium Nucleus for the Study of the Life Course and Vulnerability in Chile and the Lancet theme on Women in Science, Medicine, and Global Health. I am on the Steering Group of a UNICEF-led Humanitarian Crises and Adolescents Network. I am a member of the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships Peer Review College and the GCRF Peer Review Group. Until recently I was on the British Academy Area Panel for South Asia, the Council of the European Society of Population Economics, on Scientific Committees at the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization, on several ESRC committees and on the International Review Panels of the Danish and Swedish Research Councils. I have contributed on more than one occasion to UNESCO's Global Monitoring Report on Education.


Research projects currently in the field

  1. Long term follow-up of the Thinking Healthy Programme Perinatal Depression Intervention. Link.
  2. Share Child: Perinatal Depression and Early Childhood Development. Link