I am a Professor of Economics at the University of Essex.

I am Co-Investigator and Co-Director of the ESRC Centre for Microsocial Change (Institute for Social and Economic Research) and Co-Investigator on an ESRC-funded Programme for Human Rights, Big Data and Technology (Human Rights Centre in Law), both at Essex. I was recently 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) funding, the RCUK-Newton fund, the Bank of Sweden Research Department, the International Growth Centre and am working with a team running a follow up of a randomized control trial funded by the National Institute of Health USA.

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, 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.  

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

  • Gender (and family economics): women's property rights, gender differences in preferences, abortion, domestic violence, dowry, maternal mortality, 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.
  • 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.
  • Program evaluation, land reform, civil conflict.

I am a CROP (Bergen) Research Fellow, Research Fellow at SFI Denmark, Visiting Professor at the University of Essen-Duisburg, on the Advisory Boards of Academics Stand Against Poverty (Yale) and the Goettingen India Centre, and on the British Academy Area Panel for South Asia. I recently served on 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 regularly contributed to UNESCO's Global Monitoring Report on Education.