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Keynote speakers

Professor Dean Karlan

Dean Karlan is a Buffett Institute Faculty Fellow and the Nemmers Distinguished Professor of Economics and Finance at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and the Founder and President of Innovations for Poverty Action. His research focuses on microeconomic issues of poverty, typically employing experimental methodologies and behavioral economics insights. He works on issues for low-income households in both developing countries and the United States. Karlan is on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the M.I.T. Jameel Poverty Action Lab. In 2011, Karlan co-authored More Than Good Intentions: How a New Economics is Helping to Solve Global Poverty, in 2016 he co-authored Failing in the Field, and in 2018 he co-authored The Goldilocks Challenge.

Karlan received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Previously, Karlan was the Samuel C Park, Jr Professor of Economics at Yale University, and Assistant Professor of Economics at Princeton University. Karlan received a Ph.D. in Economics from M.I.T., an M.B.A. and an M.P.P. from the University of Chicago.

Professor Catherine Wolfram

Catherine Wolfram is the Cora Jane Flood Professor of Business Administration and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the Haas School of Business. She is the Program Director of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Environment and Energy Economics Program, and an affiliated faculty member in the Agriculture and Resource Economics department and the Energy and Resources Group at Berkeley. She is a leading expert on energy and environmental economics.

Wolfram has published extensively on the economics of energy markets. Her work has analyzed rural electrification programs in the developing world, energy efficiency programs in the US, the effects of environmental regulation on energy markets and the impact of privatization and restructuring in the US and UK. She is currently implementing several randomized controlled trials to evaluate energy programs in the U.S., Ghana, and Kenya.

She received a PhD in Economics from MIT in 1996 and an AB from Harvard in 1989. Before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley, she was an Assistant Professor of Economics at Harvard.

Professor Christopher Woodruff

Christopher Woodruff is Professor of Development Economics and a Fellow at Wolfson College at the University of Oxford.

He is the Scientific Coordinator for the DFID – CEPR joint research venture on Private Enterprise Development in Low Income Countries (PEDL) and directs the Firm Capabilities group at the International Growth Centre (IGC).

In addition to his position at Oxford, Professor Woodruff is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), and a Senior Fellow of the Bureau of Research on Economic Analysis and Development (BREAD).

A leading expert on enterprises in developing countries, Professor Woodruff is a pioneer in the use of field experiments in understanding enterprise dynamics in developing countries. His recent work includes measurement of rates of return to capital investments in microenterprises, the effect of formal registration on enterprise performance, the use of business plan competitions to identify small enterprises with potential for rapid growth, and the use of temporary wage subsidies to understand the willingness of microenterprises to expand employment.

His previous work examined the ability of informal contracting and private institutions such as trade associations to govern trading relations in the absence of functioning state institutions. Geographically, his research spans a broad area of the developing world -­ Mexico, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Bangladesh and Eastern Europe.