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Craig McIntosh

Professor; Co-director, Policy Design and Evaluation Lab

Craig McIntosh is a development economist whose expertise focuses on program evaluation. His main research interest is the design of institutions that promote the provision of financial services to micro-entrepreneurs, and he has conducted field evaluations of innovative anti-poverty policies in Mexico, Guatemala, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.

McIntosh is a professor of economics at the School of Global Policy and Strategy and serves as co-director of the Policy Design and Evaluation Lab. He teaches courses including Economic Development, Evaluating Technological Innovation, QM III Applied Data Analysis & Statistical Decision Making, and Designing Field Experiments.  

He is currently working on research projects testing how technology can be used to extend financial services and deepen agricultural markets, as well as a set of studies seeking to understand how the impact of cash transfers relates to more conventional types of development assistance. 

As co-director of the Policy Design and Evaluation Lab, McIntosh considers issues related to credit, insurance and savings markets in developing countries, as well as how to design and conduct randomized controlled trials and the field measurement techniques required to capture outcomes.

Before earning his Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from UC Berkeley, McIntosh did aid work in Somalia with the International Rescue Committee and spent a year on a Fulbright grant as a research director at FINCA/Uganda, a major microfinance lender.

Education and CV

Ph.D., Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, 2003
M.A., Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, 1999
B.A., Economics, UC Santa Cruz, 1993

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Research Interests

Recent Working Papers

"The Controlled Choice Design and Private Paternalism in Pawnshop Borrowing," with Isaac Meza, Joyce Sadka, Enrique Seira, and Francis J. DiTraglia.

"Local Infrastructure and the Development of the Private Sector: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," with Daniel Rogger, Leonardo Iacovone, and Luis F. Sanchez-Bayardo.

"Movin' on Up? The Impacts of a Large-Scale Home Ownership Lottery in Uruguay," with Vincent Armentano, Felipe Monestier, Rafael Piñeiro, Fernando Rosenblatt, and Guadalupe Tuñon.


Recent Publications

"Cash versus Kind: Benchmarking a Child Nutrition Program against Unconditional Cash Transfers in Rwanda," with Andrew Zeitlin.Forthcoming, Economic Journal. Appendix.

"Asset Transfers and Anti-Poverty Programs:  Experimental Evidence from Tanzania," with Sarah Baird, Berk Özler, and Utz Pape. Forthcoming, Journal of Development Economics. Appendix.

"Skills and Liquidity Barriers to Youth Employment: Medium-term Evidence from a Cash Benchmarking Experiment in Rwanda," with Andrew Zeitin. Forthcoming, Journal of Human Resources.

"Using Communications Technology to Promote Democratic Participation: Experimental Evidence from South Africa," with Aaron Erlich, Karen Ferree, Clark Gibson, Danielle Jung, and James Long. Forthcoming, Economic Development and Cultural Change. Appendix.

“Using Household Grants to Benchmark the Cost Effectiveness of a USAID Workforce Readiness Program,” with Andrew Zeitlin. (2022). Journal of Development Economics, 157, 102875. Appendix.

“What Are the Headwaters of Formal Savings? Experimental Evidence from Sri Lanka,” with Michael Callen, Suresh de Mel, and Christopher Woodruff. Forthcoming, Review of Economic Studies. Appendix.

“The Impact of Commercial Rainfall Index Insurance: Experimental Evidence from Ethiopia,” with Shukri Ahmed and Alexandros Sarris, . Ahmed, S., McIntosh, C., & Sarris, A. (2020).  American Journal of Agricultural Economics102(4), 1154-1176. Appendix.

“Can Mobile-Linked Bank Accounts Bolster Savings? Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Sri Lanka,” with Suresh de Mel, Ketki Sheth, and Chris Woodruff.  Forthcoming, Review of Economics and Statistics.

“When the Money Runs Out: Evaluating the Longer-Term Impacts of a Two-Year Cash Transfer Program,” with Sarah Baird and Berk Ozler. Forthcoming, Journal of Development Economics.

“Utility, Risk, and Demand for Incomplete Insurance:  Lab Experiments with Guatemalan Cooperatives,” with Felix Povel and Elisabeth Sadoulet. Forthcoming, Economic JournalAppendix.

“The Double-Edged Sword of Mobilizing Citizens via Mobile Phone in Developing Countries,” with Aaron Erlich, Danielle Jung, and James Long. Development Engineering 3 (2018): 34-46.

“Voter Information Campaigns and Political Accountability,” with Thad Dunning et al. Forthcoming, Science Advances.

“Information, Accountability, and Cumulative Learning,” with Thad Dunning, Guy Grossman, Macartan Humphreys, Susan Hyde, and Gareth Nellis. Forthcoming, Cambridge University Press.

“Designing and Evolving an Electronic Agricultural Marketplace in Uganda,” with Neil Newman, Lauren Bergquist, Nicole Immorlica, Kevin Leyton-Brown, Brendan Lucier, John Quinn, and Richard Ssekibuule.  COMPASS ACM

“Optimal Design of Experiments in the Presence of Interference,” with Sarah Baird, Aislinn Bohren, and Berk Ozler. Forthcoming, Review of Economics and Statistics.

“The Neighborhood Impacts of Local Infrastructure Investment: Evidence from Urban Mexico,” with Tito Alegría, Gerardo Ordóñez, and René Zenteno, Forthcoming, American Economic Journal: Applied.
[Spanish Translation]

“Is the Mediterranean the New Rio Grande? US and EU Immigration Pressures in the Long Run,” with Gordon Hanson, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 30(4), 57-81.

“The Rise and Fall of U.S. Low-Skilled Immigration,” with Gordon Hanson and Chen Liu, Forthcoming, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity.

“Fair Trade and Free Entry: Can a Disequilibrium Market Serve as a Development Tool?,” with Alain de Janvry and Elisabeth Sadoulet, Review of Economics and Statistics, 97.3: 567-573, 2015.

"The Heterogeneous Effects of HIV Testing,” with Sarah Baird, Erick Gong, and Berk Özler, Journal of Health Economics, 37: 98-112, 2014.

"Deposit Collecting: Unbundling the Role of Frequency, Salience, and Habit Formation in Generating Savings," with Suresh de Mel and Christopher Woodruff, American Economic Review, Papers & Proceedings, May 2013.
“The Regressive Demands of Demand-Driven Development," with Sarah Baird and Berk Ozler, Journal of Public Economics, pp. 27-41, 2013.
“Alcances e Impactos del Programa Habitat en Comunidades Pobres Urbanas de Mexico," with Tito Alegria, Gerardo Ordonez, and Rene Zenteno, Papeles de Poblacion, 19.77, pp. 231-267, 2013.
“Productivity, Credit, Risk, and the Demand for Weather Index Insurance in Smallholder Agriculture in Ethiopia," with Alexander Sarris and Fotis Papodopoulos, Agricultural Economics, (44), 2013.
“The Ecological Footprint of Poverty Alleviation: Evidence from Mexico’s Oportunidades Program,” with Jennifer Alix-Garcia, Kate Sims, and Jarrod Welch, Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 96, No. 2, pp. 417-435, 2013.
Prompting Microfinance Borrowers to Save: A Field Experiment From Guatemala," with Jesse Atkinson, Alain de Janvry, and Elisabeth Sadoulet, Economic Development and Cultural Change, 62(1), 21-64. 
“Reputation in a Public Goods Game: Taking the Design of Credit Bureaus to the Lab,” with Steven Buck, Tomas Rosada, and Elisabeth Sadoulet, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 95, pp. 270-285, 2012.
“Birth Rates and Border Crossings: Latin American Emigration to the US, Canada, Spain, and the UK,” with Gordon Hanson, The Economic Journal, 122(561), pp. 707-726, 2012.
“Impact of a Cash Transfer Program for Schooling on Prevalence of HIV and HSV-2 in Malawi: A Cluster Randomized Trial,” with Sarah Baird, Richard Garfein, and Berk Özler, Lancet, February 2012.
“Monitoring Repayment in Online Peer-to-Peer Lending," in Peter Gourevitch, David A. Lake, and Janice Stein, eds., Beyond Virtue: Evaluating the Credibility of Non-Governmental Organizations (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012).
“Cash or Condition? Evidence from a Randomized Cash Transfer Program,” with Sarah Baird and Berk Ozler, Quarterly Journal of Economics, (126), 2011.

"Microfinance and Home Improvement: Using Retrospective Panel Data to Measure Program Effects on Fundamental Events," with Gonzalo Villaran and Bruce Wydick, World Development, 39(6), 2011.
“The Supply and Demand Side Impacts of Credit Market Information,” with Alain de Janvry and Elisabeth Sadoulet, Journal of Development Economics, 93(2), 2010.
“The Short-Term Impacts of a CCT Program for Schooling on the Sexual Behavior of Young Women,” with Sarah Baird, Ephraim Chirwa, and Berk Özler, Health Economics, (19), 2010.

"The Great Mexican Emigration," with Gordon Hanson (NBER, Working Paper, 13675), Review of Economics and Statistics, 92(4), November 2010.

“The Demography of Mexican Migration to the United States,” with Gordon Hanson, American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings, Vol. 99, Issue 2, January 2009.
“Tracking the Introduction of the Village Phone Product in Rwanda,” with Michael Futch, Information Technologies in International Development, 5(9), 2009.
"Using the Error in Pre-Election Polls to Test for the Presence of Pork," with Jacob Allen, The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, Contributions, Vol. 9, Issue 1, 2009.
“Estimating Treatment Effects from Spatial Policy Experiments: An Application to Ugandan Microfinance,” Review of Economics and Statistics, 90(1), February 2008.
“The Effectiveness of Listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act: An Econometric Analysis Using Matching Methods,” with Paul Ferraro and Monica Ospina, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Vol. 54, 2007.
“Credit Information Systems in Less-Developed Countries: A Test with Microfinance in Guatemala,” with Jill Luoto and Bruce Wydick, Economic Development and Cultural Change, January 2007.
“How Rising Competition among Microfinance Institutions Affects Incumbent Lenders,” with Alain de Janvry and Elisabeth Sadoulet, The Economic Journal, 115, pp. 987-1004, October 2005.
“Competition and Microfinance,” with Bruce Wydick, Journal of Development Economics, 78, pp. 271-298, December 2005.