Dean Karlan is Professor of Economics at Yale University and President and Founder of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA). Dean started IPA in 2002, with two aims: to help learn what works and what does not in the fight against poverty and other social problems around the world, and then to implement successful ideas at scale. IPA now works in over 45 countries, with 800 employees around the world. Dean’s personal research focuses on using field experiments to learn more about how microfinance works and how to make it work better. His research uses ideas from behavioral economics, and also covers fundraising, voting, health, and education. In recent work, for example, he has studied the impact of microcredit on the lives of the poor, and has worked to create better financial products in the United States to help people manage debt. Dean is also President and co-Founder of stickK.com, a start-up that helps people use commitment contracts to achieve personal goals, such as losing weight or completing a problem set on time. Dean is a Sloan Foundation Research Fellow, and in 2007 was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. He is co-editor of the Journal of Development Economics, and on the editorial boards of American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Journal of Economic Literature, Quantitative Economics, and Journal of Globalization and Development. He holds a B.A. from University of Virginia, an M.P.P. and M.B.A. from University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Economics from M.I.T. In 2011, he co-authored More Than Good Intentions: Improving the Ways the World’s Poor Borrow, Save, Farm, Learn, and Stay Healthy.
Jonathan Morduch is Professor of Public Policy and Economics at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Jonathan focuses on innovations that expand the frontiers of finance and how financial markets shape economic growth and inequality. Jonathan has lived and worked in Asia, but his newest study follows families in California, Mississippi, Ohio, Kentucky, and New York as they cope with economic ups and downs over a year. The new study jumps off from ideas in Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day (Princeton University Press, 2009) which he co-authored and which describes how families in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa devise ways to make it through a year living on $2 a day or less. Jonathan’s research on financial markets is collected in The Economics of Microfinance and Banking the World, both published by MIT Press. At NYU, Jonathan is Executive Director of the Financial Access Initiative, a center that supports research on extending access to finance in low-income communities. Jonathan’s ideas have also shaped policy through work with the United Nations, World Bank, and other international organizations. In 2009, the Free University of Brussels awarded Jonathan an honorary doctorate to recognize his work on microfinance. He holds a B.A. from Brown and Ph.D. from Harvard, both in Economics.