Development Economics

Development economics, one of the most exciting fields in economics today, is concerned with the behavior of individuals, families, firms and institutions including governments in developing countries. Studies seek to advance understanding of the dynamics of economic growth and productivity, poverty and inequality, population health and well-being across the globe from both a micro and macro perspective. Much of the work lies at the intersection of other fields in economics.

Duke faculty teach classes and conduct research to answer questions like:

  • What are the most effective ways to help people move out of poverty? What role does microfinance play? In what ways do women who participate in these programs benefit? How can these--and other dimensions of financial markets--be designed to be most impactful?
  • Exports from developing countries to higher income economies have sky-rocketed. What drives success of firms in the shorter and longer-term? What are the impacts for poverty and inequality in the exporting and importing countries?
  • What types of work do people do in developing countries and how productive are they? How does this change as countries get richer?
  • What are the effects of natural disasters on people in low income settings? What can we learn from their responses to disasters about economic behaviors of individuals and families?
  Faculty Member
Professor Becker Wins 2014 Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring

Charles Maxwell Becker, Research Professor of Economics

Charles Becker is interested in exploring the economies of such countries as Kazakhstan, India, sub-Saharan Africa, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan.
Erica Field New Research in the American Economic Review

Erica Field, Professor of Economics

Professor Field’s major fields of interests are development economics, labor economics, economic demography, and health.
New Professor Applies Economics to Education, Unemployment

Robert J Garlick, Assistant Professor of Economics

Garlick studies education and labor economics in developing countries. He is currently working on peer and network effects in education, determinants of education investments by households, and transitions between education and the labor market.
Federico Huneeus

Federico Huneeus, Assistant Professor of Economics

A trade economist, Huneeus navigates the crossroads between macroeconomics and labor interactions. His work offers insights that promise to reshape the understanding of domestic and global trade.

Huneeus categorizes his research into two themes. The first focuses on the behavior of firms and how they impact productivity and inequality. He wants to know how productivity and inequality evolve over time, and how different dimensions of firms’ decision-making process affect both outcomes.

Duncan Thomas headshot

Duncan Thomas, Norb F. Schaefer Distinguished Professor of International Studies

Thomas' research interests focus on population health and development.