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Greetings! I am a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I graduated with a PhD in Economics from Cornell University in 2018. While at Cornell, I was also a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.

My research focuses on the analysis of social relationships in communities - often by studying the nuanced rolls played by social networks in economic decision-making. As a researcher with an empirical focus and interest in microeconomic theory, I find village economies in sub-Saharan Africa to be among the most interesting systems for such analysis.

I have worked on the following themes:

  • Social learning and agricultural technology adoption
  • The role of social spaces (e.g., churches, farmer groups) in the spread of information through social networks
  • The nuanced role of social and gift-giving networks in risk-sharing arrangements
  • The interaction of social norms, social relationships and local decision-making rules in contributing towards local public goods.

My papers are methodologically diverse though they often involve testing precise predictions of microeconomic models of decision-making with carefully thought out and nuanced roles for social network and community influences. I test these models using original, sometimes experimental, data sets that my collaborators and I have collected in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda. The data sets often include information on village social networks that allow analysis of network dyads in addition to analysis of network influences on individual behavior.

At MIT, my faculty mentor is Abhijit Banerjee. During my post-doc I will also be working with and learning from Nava Ashraf (LSE). My PhD committee was chaired by Chris Barrett and included Eleonora Patacchini and Larry Blume.

Contact Information:

E-mail: vnourani@mit.edu