Economics serving society
Karen Macours

Karen Macours

PSE Chaired Professor

Research Director INRAE

Campus Jourdan – 48 Boulevard Jourdan 75014 Paris

5th floor, office 06

Phone +33(0)1 80 52 16 86

Research groups: Development
  • Agricultural Economics and development
  • Evaluation of public policies in developing countries
  • Human capital and development


Karen Macours is a chaired professor at the Paris School of Economics (PSE), and senior researcher (directrice de recherche) at the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE). Her research focusses on agricultural productivity and rural poverty reduction in developing countries, impact assessment related to agricultural R&D, the evaluation of programs addressing households’ productive and human capital investments (early childhood, health, nutrition, education) and related measurement and methodological questions. 


She currently serves as the chair of the CGIAR’s Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA), co-chair of the health sector and board member of JPAL (Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab), member of the board of directors of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Market Risk and Resilience and of BREAD (Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development), co-lead of the development research group at Paris School of Economics, and is an affiliate of CEPR (Center for Economic Policy Research) and EUDN (European Universities Development Network).


She is co-editor of the Journal of Development Economics, and associate editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, and co-organizer of the Virtual Development Economics Seminar Series: VDEV/CEPR/BREAD.


Google scholar profile


She previously was associate professor of international economics at SAIS-Johns Hopkins University. She received her MS in Agricultural Engineering from the K.U. Leuven and her PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.



New publications and working papers


Education, Income and Mobility: Experimental Impacts of Childhood Exposure to Progresa after 20 Years (with M. Caridad Araujo)


Experimental Evidence from a Conditional Cash Transfer Program: Schooling, Learning, Fertility, and Labor Market Outcomes After 10 Years (with Tania Barham and John Maluccio), 2021. R&R Journal of European Economic Association


Agricultural Input Subsidies, Credit Constraints and Expectations of Future Transfers: Evidence from Haiti (with Jeremie Gignoux, Daniel Stein and Kelsey Wright), PSE working paper No 2021-07. R&R American Journal of Agricultural Economics


Texting Parents about Early Childhood Development: Behavioural Changes and Unintended Social Effects (with Oscar Barrera, Patrick Premand and Renos Vakis), World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 9492.


Social Learning in Agriculture: Does Smallholder Heterogeneity Impede Technology Diffusion in Sub-Saharan Africa? (with Luc Behaghel and Jeremie Gignoux), CEPR Discussion Paper 15220

   PRESS: Voxdev


Shining a Brigher Light: Comprehensive Evidence on Adoption and Diffusion of CGIAR-related Innovations in Ethiopia. (with Frederic Kosmowski, Solomon Alemu, Paola Mallia and James Stevenson). Rome: Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA). 

   Open access Replication data


Experimental Long-Term Effects of Early Childhood and School-Age Exposure to a Conditional Cash Transfer Program (with Teresa Molina Millan, John Maluccio and Luis Tejerina), 2020, Journal of Development Economics, 143(102385).


Reconciling yield gains in agronomic trials with returns under African smallholder conditions (with Rachid Laajaj, Cargele Masso, Moses Thuita, and Bernard Vanlauwe), Scientific Reports10, 14286 (2020).

   PRESS: Forbes

   Open access Replication data 


Measuring Skills in Developing Countries (with Rachid Laajaj), 2021. Journal of Human Reources, forthcoming. 

   PRESS: VoxDev

  Online appendix with detailed information on methods to facilitate use in other applications

  Open acces Replication data


Challenges to Capture the Big Five Personality Traits in non-WEIRD populations (with Rachid Laajaj, Daniel Alejandro Pinzon Hernandez, Omar Arias, Samuel Gosling, Jeff Potter, Marta Rubio-Codina, and Renos Vakis), 2019. Science Advances, 5(7): eaaw5226. 

   PRESS: NPR (National Public Radio), Discover Magazine, New ScientistORFN+1VoxDev,

                 De Morgen, Medical Xpress, De Volkskrant, Spektrum, Parsing Science (podcast)

   Open access Replication data


Impacts on school entry of exposure since birth to a conditional cash transfer programme in El Salvador (with Ana Sanchez Chico, John Maluccio and Marco Stampini), 2020.  J Dev Eff., DOI: 10.1080/19439342.2020.1773900


Long Term Impacts of Conditional Cash Transfers: Review of the Evidence (with Teresa Molina-Millan, Tania Barham, John Maluccio, Marco Stampini), 2019. World Bank Research Observer, 34: 119-159.


Farmers' Demand and the Traits and Diffusion of Agricultural Innovations in Developing Countries, 2019. Annual Review of Resource Economics, 11, 483-499.