Jonas Hjort

Jonas Hjort is a Gary Winnick and Martin Granoff Associate Professor of Business Economics at Columbia University. Before coming to Columbia, Professor Hjort received a BSc Economics from the London School of Economics, an MA International & Development Economics from Yale and a Ph.D. Economics from UC Berkeley. His research spans issues in development, labor and behavioral economics, with a particular focus on topics in their intersection. In recent work Professor Hjort has analysed, for example, the consequences of ethnic heterogeneity for production in firms in East Africa. Hjort teaches the course The Private Sector and International Development.

Content by Jonas Hjort
  • Blog post

    Can internet access lead to improved economic outcomes?

    The Infra4Dev Conference, jointly organised by the World Bank and the International Growth Centre on March 3rd-4th 2022, brought together the academic and policy-making community to exchange knowledge and insights regarding the roles that infrastructure can play in catalysing development. Professor Jonas Hjort (Columbia University and University College London) provided the...

    5 Apr 2022 | Jonas Hjort, Camilla Sacchetto

  • Blog post

    Strategic or confused? Firm behaviour and missing millions in Uganda’s VAT

    A quarter of Ugandan firms appear to consistently make costly mistakes, with potentially far-reaching consequences for theory and policy design Economists usually assume that firms behave rationally – they maximise after-tax profits given some constraints. But do they really? There is growing evidence that firms don’t always behave as standard models predict. For...

    23 Feb 2022 | Miguel Almunia, Jonas Hjort, Justine Knebelmann, Lin Tian

  • Project

    Trade shocks and production networks in Uganda

    The structure of firm networks matters. Given a certain network structure, it influences the amount of value created in an economy and determines an economy’s resilience to shocks. However, the structure is also likely to be endogenous to economic policy decisions. As such, it is difficult to disentangle the causal effect of a given network and the formation of that...

    4 Dec 2019 | Miguel Almunia, Jonas Hjort, Lin Tian, Alan Griffith

  • Project

    Mapping domestic and international trade networks

    Why do developing countries tax imports so highly when the distortionary effects of tariffs are well-known and access to imported inputs can benefit economic growth (Koren and Csillag 2016, Goldberg et al. 2010)? One possibility is that, in low state capacity contexts, it is easier to enforce tariffs and hence generate revenue at the border than it is to enforce...

    23 Nov 2017 | Justine Knebelmann, Miguel Almunia, Jonas Hjort

  • Project

    Information, fiscal capacity, and tax enforcement: An experimental evaluation

    With the recent decline in revenues from trade tariffs and official aid, developing countries have to rely increasingly on domestic taxes for revenue collection. One of the most important potential sources of domestic tax revenue is the value-added tax (VAT), a tax instrument that has been increasingly adopted by developing countries over the past decades. In theory, the...

    26 Oct 2017 | Francois Gerard, Miguel Almunia, Jonas Hjort, Justine Knebelmann

  • Blog post

    Intra-national trade costs and economic isolation

    High intra-national trade costs prevent market integration, so reducing them can help develop local economies in remote parts of a country. Building transport infrastructure alone is insufficient. The case of Liberia demonstrates that intra-national transport costs remain significant due to high vehicle prices, vehicle repair costs, credit constraints, and...

    12 Jun 2017 | Golvine de Rochambeau, Jonas Hjort

  • Publication - Project Report

    An analysis of discrepancies in tax declarations submitted under value-added tax in Uganda

    2 May 2017 | Miguel Almunia, Francois Gerard, Jonas Hjort

  • Publication - Project Report

    Credit constraints, trade credit and firm growth across interlinked markets in Zambia

    24 Mar 2017 | Lorenzo Casaburi, Jonas Hjort

  • Project

    Search frictions and firm and market growth in Liberia

    Introduction The goal of the study is to understand information frictions between large buyers and their potential suppliers in Liberia. While a lot of tenders are published, it appears that some suppliers have an “information deficit” – e.g., that they lack knowledge about how to apply to tenders or believe that it is not possible for them to win tenders – that...

    6 Jul 2016 | Jonas Hjort

  • Project

    The role of intra-national trade costs in market integration: Evidence from Liberia

    Understanding trade barriers is key to find efficient policies that promote growth. In West Africa, land transport prices are among the highest in the world, and many markets are still isolated. In those markets, high transport prices result in high commodity prices, and few possibilities for producers to access bigger markets, which impede growth. The goal of this project...

    19 May 2016 | Golvine de Rochambeau, Jonas Hjort

  • Publication - Bulletin

    The economic impacts of Ebola – Bulletin six (December 2015)

    16 Dec 2015 | Jeremy Bowles, Jonas Hjort, Timothy Melvin, Eric Werker

  • Project

    Firm capability effects of connecting buyers and sellers in Myanmar

    Starting in 2011, Myanmar has implemented a number of reforms aimed at turning the country into a market economy. Recognising this effort, the international community began to remove sanctions, enabling domestic firms to exit form half a century of isolation. The success of Myanmar businesses on international markets is going to be crucial for the country to embark on a...

    18 Nov 2015 | Shang-Jin Wei, Jonas Hjort

  • Publication - Working Paper

    Fiscal capacity and tax revenues in Uganda

    1 Oct 2015 | Miguel Almunia, Francois Gerard, Jonas Hjort

  • Project

    Credit constraints, trade credit, and firm growth across interlinked markets in Zambia

    The project focuses on the relationship among trade credit, value chain relationships and firm growth in the fish farming industry in Zambia. Partnering with a large wholesaler, the researchers plan to study how credit provision propagates along the value chain and how it affects firm dynamics. The study will be based on extensive wholesaler administrative data, on survey...

    4 Sep 2015 | Lorenzo Casaburi, Jonas Hjort

  • Project

    The impact of the Ebola outbreak on firms in Liberia

    Most of the estimates of the economic impact of Ebola have been either anecdotal or top-down using national accounts. We do not yet have survey data on how individual firms are being hit by the epidemic and how they are responding, including the effect on workers and the orientation of the firms themselves to potentially new business opportunities. We propose collecting...

    20 Feb 2015 | Jeremy Bowles, Jonas Hjort, Timothy Melvin, Eric Werker

  • Project

    Determinates and consequences of firm success in Liberia

    Researchers and policymakers have increasingly realized that the same factors that determine the growth of the private sector also tend to determine the aggregate growth rate of the economy. Yet we know very little about specific factors that influence the success of firms in the poorest countries, and concrete, short-term consequences of their success. By shedding light on...

    1 Jan 2014 | Jonas Hjort

  • Project

    Fiscal capacity and tax revenues in Uganda

    Fiscal capacity is one of the most important constraints on economic growth (Besley and Persson, 2013). In developing countries, the state’s ability to tax its citizens is typically limited by (a) the cost of acquiring accurate information on taxable activities, and (b) the tax agency’s capacity to enforce the tax rules. The literature has highlighted the central role...

    1 Dec 2013 | Miguel Almunia, Francois Gerard, Jonas Hjort

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Vocational Education in Kenya (Policy Brief)

    1 Apr 2011 | Joan Hamory Hicks, Jonas Hjort, Michael Kremer, Isaac Mbiti, Jamie McCasland, Edward Miguel

  • Project

    Vocational Education in Kenya

    Youth unemployment is one of the most pressing social and economic problems that less developed countries face today. Yet little is known about how best to smooth the school-to-work transition or to boost human capital for those not on the academic schooling track. Vocational education is one promising avenue for addressing the problem. However, few existing rigorous...

    1 Sep 2009 | Edward Miguel, Jonas Hjort, Michael Kremer, Isaac Mbiti