Isaac Mbiti – Dallas, Texas


Isaac Mbiti is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics of Southern Methodist University. His research interests are in economic development, labor economics and demography.

His research has examined a number of issues related to African economic development, including the impact of primary education and the diffusion of mobile phones, mobile money, and other new technologies. His publications have appeared in the American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Journal, and Journal of African Economies. He completed a B.Sc. in economics, summa cum laude, at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and an AM and PhD in economics at Brown University.

Isaac Mbiti

Isaac Mbiti

Mbiti and Jenny C. Aker, Tufts University, wrote about the phenomenal growth of cell phones — and their impact — in the March/April 2010 issue of the Boston Review.

Dr. Mbiti was based at the The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) from 2010-2011. This center within the Economics Department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology aims to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is based on scientific evidence.

J-PAL was founded on the belief that there would be enormous potential to improve the effectiveness of poverty programs if there was more and better evidence on the most cost effective approaches for tackling poverty. Partnering with governments, private companies, and nongovernmental organizations, J-PAL researchers answer key policy questions using the most rigorous scientific methods. J-PAL’s work also goes beyond the evaluations themselves, seeking to change the way that poverty policy is made—making it more evidence based and more effective.  Dr. Mbiti was nominated for this fellowship by Professor Esther Duflo.

Mbiti wrote a policy review for the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya in May 2011 titled ” Access and Quality in the Kenyan Education System: A Review of the Progress, Challenges and Potential Solutions with Rachel Glennerster, Michael Kremer, and Kudzai Takavarasha.

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