Panel: Development and Research

Tuesday, September 29th, 10am EDT

Join experts Aletheia Donald (World Bank Gender Innovation Lab),Jeff Mosenkis (Innovations for Poverty Action), Vijayendra (Biju) Rao (World Bank Development Research Group), and Rebecca J. Wolfe (Harris School for Public Policy/Mercy Corps) to learn about careers in development, transitions to and from academia, and the personal experiences of development practitioners and researchers.

A recording is available here:

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Aletheia Donald is an economist working at the Gender Innovation Lab, within the World Bank’s Africa Chief Economist Office. Her current research focuses on identifying and addressing gender-based constraints through the analysis of development project impacts and improving the measurement of their outcomes. Before joining the World Bank, Aletheia was a Research Fellow at Harvard’s Evidence for Policy Design and Head of Research for the NGO Empower Dalit Women of Nepal. She holds a Master’s degree from Yale University. 

Dr. Jeff Mosenkis explains what Innovations for Poverty Action does and what our findings mean to policymakers and the general public; for example, translating “multiple inference testing adjusted q-values” into other languages, like English. Before joining IPA, he worked for Freakonomics Radio which is heard by millions on public radio and online around the world. Jeff holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences and a PhD in Psychology and Comparative Human Development, both from the University of Chicago.

Dr. Vijayendra (Biju) Rao, a Lead Economist in the Development Research Group of the World Bank, integrates his training in economics with theories and methods from anthropology, sociology and political science to study the social, cultural, and political context of extreme poverty in developing countries. He leads the Social Observatory, an inter-disciplinary effort to embed researchers within large-scale interventions to help improve the capacity for local collective action and improve the conversation between citizens and governments. His research has spanned a wide variety of subjects including participatory development, deliberative democracy, the rise in dowries in India, the determinants and consequences of domestic violence, the economics of sex work, public celebrations, and culture and development policy. Dr. Rao obtained a BA in Economics from St. Xavier’s College, Bombay University, a PhD in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, was a Hewlett post-doctoral fellow at the Economics Research Center and an Associate of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies at the University of Chicago, and has been a Mellon Fellow at Population Studies Centers at the University of Michigan and Brown University. He was an Assistant Professor of Economics at Williams College before joining the World Bank’s research department in 1999.

Dr. Rebecca J. Wolfe is a leading expert on political violence, conflict and violent extremism. She is a lecturer at the Harris School for Public Policy at the University of Chicago, where she also is an associate at the Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts. Prior to joining the faculty at Chicago, she led research and program development related to conflict and fragility at Mercy Corps, an international development and humanitarian agency. Dr. Wolfe is able to draw on her extensive practitioner and academic backgrounds to effectively research important development issues, design interventions that are theoretically grounded and evidence based, and communicate both to multiple audiences. Over her career, she has developed conflict prevention and violence reduction programs globally, including Kenya’s largest youth development program, gang violence prevention in Guatemala City, countering violent extremism programs in Nigeria and Yemen, and community-based conflict management interventions in Iraq, Syria, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Tajikistan. She has also published research on why young people engage in violence and how development interventions can be designed to reduce this support. She was a Fellow at Yale University’s Political Violence Field Lab and currently is an affiliate at NYU’s Steinhardt School. Dr. Wolfe has taught at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs and at the Wagner School for Public Service at New York University. She received her PhD in Social Psychology from Harvard University.