UC San Diego

    School of Global Policy and Strategy

    Tata Chancellor's Endowed Professor of Economics

    Director, 21st Century India Center



    Good Business Lab

    Co-founder and CEO

  • CV.

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    Achyuta Adhvaryu



    Tata Chancellor's Endowed Professor of Economics


    Director, 21st Century India Center

    School of Global Policy and Strategy


    University of California, San Diego


    Affiliations: NBER, J-PAL, BREAD, GBL, IGC, CEGA




    PhD, economics, Yale University (2009)

    BA, math and economics, University of Pennsylvania (2004)



    Research interests: development, organizations, health, applied micro



    Previous Teaching at UM:

    BE 300 (Applied Microeconomics; BBA)

    BUSABRD 320 (Doing Business in India, BBA)

    ECON 666 (Economic Development, PhD)




    UC San Diego:

    Econ 243: The Economics of Organizations in Developing Countries, 2024-present | PhD

    GPGN 490: Doing Business in India, 2024-present | master's

    GPIM 447: Organizational Economics, 2024-present | master's





    University of Michigan:

    ECON 666: Economic Development, 2018-2022 | PhD | Syllabus  

    BUSABRD 320: Doing Business in India, 2018-2020 | BBA | Syllabus 

    BE 300 / BE 557: Applied Economics, 2015-2020 | BBA / master's | Syllabus 

    BE 888: Enterprise and Health in Emerging Economies , 2014, 2016 | PhD | Syllabus 

    HMP 663: The Economics of Health Management and Policy II , 2014 | MPH/MHSA | Syllabus 



    HPM 591a: Global Health Economics, 2010-2012 | MPH | Syllabus


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    Publications | Working Papers


    Absenteeism, Productivity, and Relational Contracts Inside the Firm

    We study the behavior of managers who share workers across teams to weather absenteeism shocks. Relationships have some smoothing value, but many potentially beneficial transfers are left unrealized. We simulate the gains to increased relationship formation and find that the firm could reduce worker misallocation and increase productivity substantially by spurring relationship formation.


    pdf | Journal of the European Economic Association (forthcoming)


    No Line Left Behind: Assortative Matching Inside the Firm

    Do talented managers match with productive workers, or with those who are struggling to perform? We find negative assortative matching of managers and workers. Despite supermodularity of production, "misallocating" managerial skill in this way may be optimal for firms who value buyer relationships.


    pdf | Review of Economics and Statistics (forthcoming)


    The Human Capital Effects of Access to Elite Jobs

    Individuals who enjoyed greater access to elite bureaucratic jobs invested more in schooling and achieved better labor market outcomes.


    pdf | American Economic Journal: Applied Economics (forthcoming)

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    Dust and Death: Evidence from the West African Harmattan

    with Prashant BharadwajJames FenskeAnant Nyshadham, and Richard Stanley

    Dust from the annual harmattan winds increases infant and child mortality in West Africa, but human adaptation has tapered these impacts over a 20 year period.

    pdf | Economic Journal (forthcoming)

    Expectations, Wage Hikes, and Worker Voice

    A randomized evaluation of Hirschman's (1970) seminal theory. Workers quit when wage increases do not meet their expectations, but enabling voice mitigates this exit.


    pdfEconomic Journal (forthcoming)


    Fetal Origins of Mental Health: Evidence from Africa

    Temperature shocks during the in utero period significantly contribute to the adult mental health disease burden in Africa.


    pdf | blog | Economic Development and Cultural Change (forthcoming)


    Hostel Takeover: Living Conditions, Reference Dependence, and the Wellbeing of Migrant Workers

    Worker satisfaction depends critically on how expectations are set by firms. Migrant workers experienced large losses in subjective wellbeing when randomized improvements in hostel living conditions were more modest than expected.


    pdf | Journal of Public Economics (forthcoming)


    Managerial Quality and Productivity Dynamics

    What makes a good manager good? We let the data tell us -- and find that hard-to-observe things like attention and control have large effects on productivity, and are drastically undervalued in manager pay.


    pdf | Review of Economic Studies, 2023, 90:4


    Returns to On-the-job Soft Skills Training

    Soft skills training on-the-job boosts worker productivity and generates large returns for the firm.


    pdf | Journal of Political Economy, 2023, 131:8


    Management and Shocks to Worker Productivity

    When workers face environmental shocks, managers reallocate tasks within teams, shifting workers away from jobs in which their performance is most affected.


    pdf | Journal of Political Economy, 2022, 130:1 (lead article)


    Conflict and the Formation of Political Beliefs in Africa

    Does childhood exposure to war perpetuate cycles of conflict in Africa?


    pdf | blog | Economic Development and Cultural Change, 2023, 71(2)


    Helping Children Catch Up: Early Life Shocks and the Progresa Experiment

    Cash transfers mitigate a large fraction of the negative impact of early life shocks on educational attainment and employment outcomes.


    pdf | Economic Journal, 2022, 132(645)


    Protecting Infants from Natural Disasters: The Case of Vitamin A Supplementation and a Tornado in Bangladesh

    with Snaebjorn Gunnsteinsson, Teresa Molina, Parul Christian, Alain Labrique, Jonathan Sugimoto, Abu Ahmed Shamim, and Keith P. West, Jr.

    Can policy protect against the often devastating human impacts of environmental shocks? We study this question by leveraging data from a situation in which a tornado tore through an area involved in a double-blind cluster-randomized controlled trial of at-birth vitamin A supplementation in Bangladesh.


    pdf | Journal of Development Economics, 2022, 158


    Resources, Conflict, and Economic Development in Africa

    Our results help explain why conflict keeps the most resource-rich countries no better off than the most resource-poor.


    pdf | Journal of Development Economics, 2021 (Issue 149)


    (Mis)information and Anxiety: Experimental Evidence from a Covid-19 Information Campaign

    with Sadish D. and Anant Nyshadham

    We ask whether information can be delivered without negative consequences to mental health. We randomly assigned individuals to receive Covid-19 information through text messages, a pre-recorded audio message, or phone calls. Phone calls were effective at engaging individuals. They improved Covid-19 knowledge and reduced depression and anxiety; the amount of information delivered does not account for this effect.


    pdf | Journal of Development Economics, 2021, 152

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    When It Rains It Pours: The Long-run Economic Impacts of Salt Iodization in the United States

    with Steven Bednar, Teresa Molina, Quynh Nguyen, and Anant Nyshadham

    Iodized salt increased women's income and labor force participation in the 20th century US.


    pdf | Review of Economics and Statistics, 2020, 102(2)

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    The Light and the Heat: Productivity Co-benefits of Energy-saving Technology

    LED lighting flattens the temperature-productivity gradient on hot days in Indian garment factories.


    pdf | Review of Economics and Statistics, 2020, 102(4)

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    Early Life Circumstance and Adult Mental Health

    Income shocks in early life have large, lasting effects on mental health.


    pdf | blog | Journal of Political Economy, 2019, 127(4)

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    Booms, Busts, and Household Enterprise: Evidence from Coffee Farmers in Tanzania

    Households use small business activity to weather income shocks.


    pdf | published | World Bank Economic Review, 2019 (December)

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    Health, Enterprise, and Labor Complementarity in the Household

    Household enterprise as a means of mitigating the effects of health shocks.


    pdf | published | Journal of Development Economics, 2017 (Issue 126)
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    Endowments at Birth and Parents' Investments in Children

    Do parents invest more in smarter children?



    pdf | published | Economic Journal, 2016 (Issue 593)
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    Returns to Treatment in the Formal Health Care Sector: Evidence from Tanzania

    Why is formal sector care better than self-treatment for sick children?



    pdf | American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 2015, 7(3)

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    Learning, Misallocation, and Technology Adoption: Evidence from New Malaria Therapy in Tanzania

    Misdiagnosis slows down the adoption of effective new therapies.



    pdf | appendix | Review of Economic Studies, 2014, 81(4)


    Firing Costs and Flexibility: Evidence from Firms' Labor Adjustments to Shocks in India

    with Amalavoyal Chari and Siddharth Sharma

    Pro-labor laws constrain firms' responses to shocks.

    pdf | published | Review of Economics and Statistics, 2013, 95(3)

    Schooling, Child Labor and the Returns to Healthcare in Tanzania

    Does accessing formal sector care affect sick children's time use?


    pdf | published | Journal of Human Resources, 2012, 47(2)

    The Long-Run Impacts of Adult Deaths on Older Household Members in Tanzania

    Do HIV-related deaths affect surviving elderly household members?


    pdf | published | Economic Development and Cultural Change, 2012, 60(2), lead article


    Publications | Working Papers

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    An Anatomy of Performance Monitoring

    Performance monitoring works because managers can better target skill investments in their workers. But skills depreciate, so failing to refresh training can result in dilution of productivity impacts over time.


    pdf | june 2022 | R&R, Journal of Political Economy

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    Organizational Responses to Product Cycles

    with Vittorio Bassi, Anant Nyshadham, Jorge Tamayo, and Nicolas Torres

    An anatomy of the incredible, flexible organization -- how a leading auto manufacturer responds to the ever-increasing complexity of production associated with the introduction of new models on the shop floor.


    pdf | march 2023 | R&R, Journal of Political Economy

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    Sotto Voce: The Impacts of Technology to Enhance Worker Voice

    with Smit Gade, Teresa Molina, and Anant Nyshadham

    Enabling worker voice through a two-way, anonymous, SMS-based technology decreases absenteeism and turnover, despite infrequent usage. Our findings suggest a substantial option value of voice, which can promote positive workplace behaviors even when workers do not directly avail themselves of the technology.


    pdf | september 2021 | R&R, Economic Journal

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    Rapport in Organizations: Evidence from Fast Food

    with Parker Howell, Anant Nyshadham, and Jorge Tamayo

    Rapport between managers and workers matters for organizational performance. We show that when managers and their teams are more matched on gender identity, quick-service restaurants can take better advantage of demand shocks.


    pdf | november 2023 (NEW!)

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    On the Allocation and Impacts of Managerial Training

    with Emir Murathanoglu and Anant Nyshadham 

    Managerial soft skills training improves productivity, but misallocation can substantially dampen its impacts.


    pdf | supplemental appendix | june 2023 (NEW!)

    Image by master1305 on Freepik

    Child Health, Parental Well-Being, and the Social Safety Net

    with N. Meltem Daysal, Snaebjorn Gunnsteinsson, Teresa Molina, and Herdis Steingrimsdottir

    Parents' preferences to personally provide care for their children during the critical years following a severe health shock drive persistent changes in labor supply and income -- evidence from childhood cancers in Denmark.


    pdf | may 2023 (NEW!)

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    Diagnosing Quality: Learning, Amenities, and the Demand for Health Care

    Increasing access to nontechnical amenities substantially drives up the demand for cataract surgery in Mexico.


    pdf | july 2020


    Workers, managers, and productivity: How investments in workers can fuel India’s productivity growth
    with Smit Gade, Jean-Francois Gauthier, Anant Nyshadham, and Sandhya Srinivas
    India Policy Forum, 2023


    The Stakeholder Disagreement Metric (SDM): Quantifying Preference Disagreement Between Product Stakeholders

    with Suzanne Chou et al.

    Developing metrics for disagreement in the preferences of stakeholders in early-stage product design.

    Journal of Mechanical Design, 2023


    "He was trapped in his own web” - Dependent drinking as a poverty trap: a qualitative study from Goa, India

    with Jaclyn Schess et al.

    Qualitative evidence on alcohol consumption as a poverty trap in India.

    published (gated) | Drug and Alcohol Review, 2020


    Cash transfers for clinical and household economic outcomes among HIV-affected households in Uganda: A factorial randomized trial

    with Ed Mills et al.

    Can cash transfers improve the health of HIV-positive individuals in low-income settings? 

    published (gated) | AIDS, 2018


    Management Quality and Worker Productivity in Developing Countries

    Review article: management interventions can improve worker and firm productivity in low-income country contexts. 

    pdf | IZA World of Labor, 2018


    An Experiment in India Shows How Much Companies Have to Gain by Investing in Their Employees

    with Lavanya Garg, Namrata Kala, and Anant Nyshadham

    A summary of our work on soft skills training for female garment workers in India.

    link | HBR, 2017


    Early Childhood Health and Development in India: A Review of the Evidence and Recommendations for the Future

    with Prashant Bharadwaj and Samuel Krumholz

    We review the status of early childhood development in India and make recommendations for future policy focus, informed by theory and evidence on interventions that work around the world.

    pdf | NCAER-Brookings India Policy Forum, 2017


    Psychological distress in Ghana: associations with employment and lost productivity

    with Maureen Canavan et al.

    What is the economic incidence of mental health disorders? 

    published | International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 2013, 7(9)


    The Impact of a Novel Franchise Clinic Network on Access to Medicines and Vaccinations in Kenya

    with Justin Berk

    Franchised clinics may improve healthcare access for young children. 

    pdf | published | BMJ Open, 2012, 2(4)