Faculty Research Profiles

JENNY C. AKER – ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS

Professor Jenny Aker is an Associate Professor of Development Economics at the Fletcher School. She is also the Director of the Fletcher Leadership Program for Financial Inclusion (FLPFI) and the Co-Director of CIERP.  

Professor Aker’s research seeks to understand the impacts of the rapid spread of information technology in sub-Saharan Africa and the mechanisms through which this technology affects welfare, focusing primarily on the areas of agriculture, income transfers and education. More specifically, her research covers three overlapping domains:
  • Information Technology and Welfare. How has information technology affected households’ and firms’ access to information, education and financial services in sub-Saharan Africa, and how has this measurably affected market performance and welfare?
  • Income Transfer Modalities. How does the use of electronic payment systems, including those provided by mobile phones, affect the benefits and costs of social protection programs?
  • Agricultural markets and technology adoption. Beyond information, what are the constraints to the efficient functioning of agricultural markets, such as borders and access to financial services? And, how do these costs affect farmers’ adoption of improved technologies? 
In each one of these areas, she is interested in measuring the causal relationships between a policy or intervention and a particular outcome and employs both experimental and non-experimental empirical methods to answer these research questions. 

Professor Aker has a number of peer-reviewed publications and two book chapters. Her work has been cited 1134 times, with a h-index of 11, and has been referenced in popular publications such as The Economist. More information on her research publications and streams can be found on her personal webpage