La science économique au service de la société
Karen Macours

Karen Macours

Professeure titulaire d'une chaire à PSE

Directrice de recherche INRAE

Campus Jourdan – 48 Boulevard Jourdan 75014 Paris

5e étage, bureau 06

Tél. 01 80 52 16 86

Groupes de recherche : Développement
  • Agriculture et développement
  • Evaluation des politiques publiques dans les pays en développement
  • Capital humain et développement


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 the evaluation of programs addressing households’ productive and human capital investments (early childhood, health, nutrition, education), agricultural productivity and rural poverty reduction in low- and middle-income countries, impact assessment related to agricultural R&D,  and related measurement and methodological questions. 


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.


She is a board member of JPAL (Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab) and serves as co-chair of JPAL's health sector and the Learning for All Initiative, is a member of the board of directors of BREAD (Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development) and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Market Risk and Resilience, a member of the Weiss Fund committee, and until recently was chair of the CGIAR’s Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA). She is a research fellow of CEPR (Center for Economic Policy Research) and affiliate of EUDN (European Universities Development Network).  



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

Menstrual Stigma, Hygiene, and Human Capital: Experimental Evidence from Madagascar (with Julieta Vera and Duncan Webb)

  • More information on the JPAL website, and on CARE (our partner)'s website
  • Info sur les resultats en francais: Note de synthèse
  • Article on the dissemination of results in Madagascar (in english, en francais)


The Complexity of Multidimensional Learning in Agriculture (with Rachid Laajaj), 2024. CEPR discussion paper 19009


Experimental Evidence from a Conditional Cash Transfer Program: Schooling, Learning, Fertility, and Labor Market Outcomes After 10 Years (with Tania Barham, and J.A. Maluccio). 2024. Journal of European Economic Association, jvae005.

   This combines previous discussion papers  CEPR 13165,CEPR 11937  and IDB-WP 432.

   Online appendix  


Impact of Small Farmers' Access to Improved Seeds and Deforestation in DR Congo (with Tanguy Bernard, Sylvie Lambert and Margaux Vinez), Nature Communications, 2023, 14:1603,

   Open access replication data

   PRESS: Voxdev


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

 R&R American Economic Review

 PRESS: Voxdev Podcast. Video, Examplars in Global Health, Washington Post


The Rigor Revolution: New Standards of Evidence for Impact Assessment of International Agricultural Research (with James Stevenson and Douglas Gollin), 2023. Annual Review of Resource Economics, 15. 495-515.


Input subsidies, credit constraints, and expectations of future transfers: Evidence from Haiti (with Jeremie Gignoux, Daniel Stein and Kelsey Wright), 2022American Journal of Agricultural Economics,

   Open access replication data


Transfers, Diversification and Household Risk Strategies: Experimental Evidence with Lessons for Climate Change Adaptation (with Patrick Premand and Renos Vakis), 2022. Economic Journal,132 (647):2438–2470.

PRESS: Nature Climate Change News and Views

 Open access: replication data MPV  and online appendix MPV2022 


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).

    PRESS: Foreign Affairs


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, Voxdev talk Podcast

   Open access Replication data 


Measuring Skills in Developing Countries (with Rachid Laajaj), 2021. Journal of Human Reources, 56 (4), 1254-1295,

   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.