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Punjab Economic Opportunity Program: Evaluating Markets for Skill Acquisition and Employment

Principal Investigator Asim Ijaz Khwaja

Asim Ijaz Khwaja is Sumitomo-Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development Professor of International Finance and Development at the Harvard Kennedy School and the faculty chair of the MPA/ID program. He is currently serving as a Board Member at CERP.

His areas of interest include economic development, finance, education, political economy, institutions, and contract theory/mechanism design. His research combines extensive fieldwork, rigorous empirical analysis, and microeconomic theory to answer questions that are motivated by and engage with policy. He has been published in the leading economics journals, such as the American Economic Review, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and has received coverage in numerous media outlets such as the Economist, NY Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Al-Jazeera, BBC, and CNN. His recent work ranges from understanding market failures in emerging financial markets to examining the private education market in low-income countries.

Dr. Khwaja received BS degrees in economics and in mathematics with computer science from MIT and a PhD in Economics from Harvard. He was selected as a Carnegie Scholar in 2009 to pursue research on how religious institutions impact individual beliefs. Khwaja was born in London, U.K., lived for eight years in Kano, Nigeria, the next eight in Lahore, Pakistan, and for the past several years in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He continues to enjoy interacting with people around the globe.


Co-Principal-Investigator Ali Cheema

Dr. Ali Cheema is one of the founding members and current board member at the Center of Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP). He is also an Associate Professor of Economics (currently on leave) and a former head of the economics department (2004-2007) at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Lahore, Pakistan. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at IDEAS. Dr. Cheema has extensive experience in research and policy work in the areas of political economy, governance, the applied economics of crime and social protection, skills and the labour market. He was a member of the Initiative of Policy Dialogue (IPD), Columbia University, Task force on Decentralization and was one of the founding members of the Stockholm Challenge Award winning portal, Relief Information System for Earthquakes, Pakistan (RISEPAK). His recent work includes large-scale impact evaluations of vocational training for poverty reduction programs in Punjab and the relationship between criminal incidence and labour market outcomes in Pakistan.

A Rhodes Scholar, Dr. Cheema holds a BA (Honors) degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford, and a BA in Mathematics and Statistics from Government College, Lahore. He received his MPhil in Economics and Politics of Development, and a Doctorate in Economics from the University of Cambridge.



Co-Principal-Investigator Jacob Shapiro

Jacob N. Shapiro is Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and co-directs the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project. His primary research interests include terrorism and political violence, aid, and security policy. His research has been published in Journal of Political Economy, American Journal of Political Science, International Security, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Political Analysis, Security Studies, World Politics, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Military Operations Research, Terrorism and Political Violence, and a number of edited volumes. Shapiro is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, an Associate Editor of World Politics, a Research Fellow at the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP), and has served in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science and an M.A. in Economics from Stanford University, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan.


Co-Principal-Investigator Farooq Naseer

Farooq Naseer is currently an Assistant Professor at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, teaching econometrics to both undergraduate and Masters students. His research interests lie in the field of development economics and political economy including micro-econometric analysis of institutions and their role in the face of information problems. His dissertation work has looked at the community-based organizations in the Philippines as well as the pricing structure in the sugarcane markets in Pakistan. Farooq Naseer holds a PhD and MA both from Yale University.



Project Introduction

 Click here for a brief introduction and the research output of the project.


Tagged: ProjectNr089