Abdelaziz Lawani

Applied Economist & Data Scientist

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky where I expect to graduate in 2017. Previously, I completed a Master's degree in Economics at North Carolina State University in 2013, thanks to the Fulbright Scholarship. I am originally from Benin where I received a Master's degree in Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology in 2008 and a Bachelor in Agronomy in 2006.

My research interests lie at the interactions of development, environmental economics, and data science. My training gives me a strong multidisciplinary background which allows me to work on a variety of topics. I am currently working on using remote sensing (drones and satellite data), social networks, and consumer-generated content (reviews, commentaries) to infer economic agents’ behavior from small-scale farmers in developing countries to consumers in advanced economies. My dissertation discusses three essays on the applications of big data methods in economic research:

  • Platform economics and price competition: Evidence from scraping Airbnb online platform in Boston
  • Billions of tweets, satellite data and demand for clean air
  • Impact of eco-friendly attributes on customers' reviews: Analysis of Amazon reviews using machine learning

Besides my research works, I am also a serial social entrepreneur. I am always eager to translate my researches into concrete solutions for development. The social impact of my works led me to feature among the 35 under 35 young innovators in francophone countries in 2016 and the Clinton Foundation honor roll in 2017.