Smart Policy Design: Why the Obvious Is So Hard To Do


Harvard Kennedy School
Rafik Hariri Professor of International Political Economy

Rohini Pande is an economist whose research examines the economic costs and benefits of informal and formal institutions in the developing world and the role of public policy in affecting change.

Pande is the Rafik Hariri Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard Kennedy School. She co-directs the Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) Initiative (@EPoDHarvard). Her work has examined how institutions - ranging from electoral to financial - can be designed to empower historically disadvantaged groups; how low-cost improvements in information collection and dissemination can enable flexible regulation and more efficient outcomes in areas as diverse as environmental protection and elections; and how biased social norms, unless challenged by public policy, can worsen individual well-being and reduce economic efficiency.

At Harvard Kennedy School, Pande is also the Area Chair for International Development and teaches in the MPA/ID program. Her other current affiliations include Executive Committee member of the Bureau of Research on Economic Development (BREAD), co-chair of the Political Economy and Government Group at Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), board member at Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR), and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Her publications have appeared in the top economics and policy journals.

Pande received a PhD in Economics from London School of Economics, a Master's from Oxford University and BA in Economics from Delhi University.

Selected Publications

Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles

  • Duflo, Esther, Michael Greenstone, Rohini Pande, and Nicholas Ryan. "Truth-telling by Third-party Auditors and the Response of Polluting Firms: Experimental Evidence from India." Quarterly Journal of Economics 128.4 (2013): 1499–1545.
  • Field, Erica, Rohini Pande, John Papp, and Natalia Rigol. "Does the Classic Microfinance Model Discourage Entrepreneurship among the Poor? Experimental Evidence from India." American Economic Review 103.6 (October 2013): 2196-2226.
  • Beaman, Lori, Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, Esther Duflo, Rohini Pande, and Petia Topalova. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?" Quarterly Journal of Economics 124.4 (November 2009): 1497-1540.
  • Duflo, Esther, and Rohini Pande. "Dams." Quarterly Journal of Economics 122.2 (May 2007): 601-646.
  • Pande, Rohini, and Robin Burgess. "Do Rural Banks Matter? Evidence from the Indian Social Banking Experiment." American Economic Review 95.3 (June 2005): 780-794.

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