© 2018 by Miri Stryjan.

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RESEARCH STATEMENT

 

My research is in development economics with a strong emphasis on field work and field experiments. In one part of my research agenda I study microfinance markets, where I examine how loans can be made to be more conducive to business development and how the incentives of loan officers shape lending activities. My other main area of focus is questions of political economy, such as collective action problems and decision-making procedures that determine service delivery, through the lens of development programs. 

My research approach primarily relies on the design, implementation, and analysis of randomized field experiments. The experiments are large, typically with thousands of participants. Rather than evaluating the overall impact of a program, I design the treatments and data collection in ways that allow me to determine mechanisms and test theories, in order to learn lessons that to go beyond the immediate context of a specific program. 

In terms of geographical focus, my research is focused on East Africa, primarily Uganda, where I have implemented several projects with the collaboration of one of the world's largest NGOs and microfinance providers, BRAC. By spending substantial periods of time in the field over the past eight years, I have built a network and gained the confidence of the organization to design experiments that take place within the context of their existing program activities, thereby enhancing external validity and policy relevance. For instance, in two ongoing projects I collaborate with BRAC and introduce variation in the contracts of their employees, which allows me to learn about the importance of particular contract features for effort and contract compliance. 

More generally, questions related to poverty and inequality are what led me to pursue a career in economics. Going forward, I hope to develop my research scope in this area by studying such questions not only in low income countries, but also in the context of the OECD. 

 

Read my full research statement here.