Dean Karlan

  • Professor of Economics and Finance
  • Northwestern University



Research affiliates

Dean Karlan is Professor of Economics and Finance at Northwestern University. Karlan is also President of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), co-director of the Financial Access Initiative, a consortium created with funding from the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, a research fellow of the M.I.T. Jameel Poverty Action Lab, and co-Founder and President of In 2007, he received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and in 2008 a Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. His research focuses on microeconomic issues of financial decision-making, specifically employing experimental methodologies to examine what works, what does not, and why in interventions in microfinance and health. Internationally, he focuses on microfinance, and domestically, he focuses on voting, charitable giving, and commitment contracts. In microfinance, he has studied interest rate policy, credit evaluation and scoring policies, entrepreneurship training, group versus individual liability, savings product design, credit with education, and impact from increased access to credit. His work on savings and health typically uses insights from psychology and behavioral economics to design and test specialized products. He has consulted for the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, FINCA International and the Guatemalan government. 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, and a B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Virginia.