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Joshua Graff Zivin

Professor; Pacific Economic Cooperation Chair in International Economic Relations; Director, Cowhey Center on Global Transformation

Joshua Graff Zivin is the Pacific Economic Cooperation Chair in International Economic Relations at UC San Diego, where he holds faculty positions in the School of Global Policy and Strategy and the Department of Economics. He is presently a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and serves dual roles as director of the Cowhey Center on Global Transformation and co-director of the Global Health Institute at UC San Diego.  

Graff Zivin is an internationally renowned economist whose broad research interests include the environment, health, development and innovation economics. He has published numerous articles on a wide range of topics in top economic, policy and science journals. Much of his current work is focused on three distinct areas of research: the relationship between the environment, health and human capital, the economics of innovation with a particular eye toward the role of institutions, social networks and financial incentives, and the design of health interventions and their economic impacts. At GPS, he teaches courses including Environmental and Regulatory Economics and Economies of the Pacific Rim.

Graff Zivin received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and his B.A. from Rutgers University. Prior to joining UC San Diego in 2008, he spent 11 years on the faculty at Columbia University, where he served as professor of economics in the Mailman School of Public Health and the School of International and Public Affairs and directed the Ph.D. Program in Sustainable Development. In 2004-05, he served as Senior Economist for Health and the Environment on the White House Council of Economic Advisers.  

Education and CV

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1998
M.S., University of California, Berkeley, 1994
B.A., Rutgers College, Rutgers University, 1993

GPS Spotlight

Taking the reins at CGT
April 20, 2020 | New director for the Center on Global Transformation Joshua Graff Zivin talks multidisciplinary research and plans for the center’s future

Aversion to Risk by R&D Managers May Hurt U.S. Economic Prospects
March 16, 2020 | Executives tolerant of failure in pursuit of reward are best suited to seed innovation needed for growth

What is the Best Way to Encourage Innovation? Competitive Pay May be the Answer
Feb. 12, 2019 | Field work from UC San Diego and Thermo Fisher finds providing a sizable award to top performers is most effective in producing creative scientific and technological solutions

Read additional stories

Research in Progress

Aguilar-Gomez, S, H Dwyer, J Graff Zivin, and M Neidell, “This is Air: The ‘Non-Health’ Effects of Air Pollution,” NBER WP #29848.

Graff Zivin, J, M Neidell, N Sanders, and G Singer, “When Externalities Collide: Influenza and Pollution,” NBER WP# 27982.

Graff Zivin, J, Fan H, Z Kou Z, X Liu, and H Wang, “Going Green in China: Firms’ Responses to Stricter Environmental Regulations,” NBER WP #26540.

Graff Zivin, J and M Kahn, “Industrial Productivity in a Hotter World: The Aggregate Implications of Heterogeneous Firm Investment in Air Conditioning,” NBER WP #22962.

Open-Source Software

The following open-source software tools are designed to facilitate research on knowledge creation, dissemination, and policy in the life sciences with financial support from the National Science Foundation (Awards SBE-0738142 and SBE-1063907).
Software Tools 

PubHarvester: An open-source software tool designed to retrieve scientific publications data from MEDLINE.

SC/Gen and Second Degree Report: Two open-source software tools to create the two-degree, egocentric coauthorship network for a set of "superstar" scientists.

Scientific Distance: An open-source software tool designed to calculate distance between any pair of scientists in "ideas space" based on the overlap of the MeSH keywords in their publications.

FindRelated is a companion tool to Publication Harvester that works with a database of publications previously downloaded from PubMed using Publication Harvester. FindRelated uses the Related Citations search to find and harvest all of the publications related to publications already in the database.

Selected Recent Publications

Graff Zivin J and E Lyons, "The Effects of Prize Structures on Innovative Performance," American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings, 111(2021): 577–581.

Graff Zivin, J and N Sanders. "The spread of COVID-19 shows the importance of policy coordination." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(2020): 32823- 32826.

Graff Zivin, J, Y Song, Q Tang, and P Zhang, “Temperature and High-Stakes Cognitive Performance: Evidence from the National College Entrance Examination in China,” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 104 (2020): 102365.

Graff Zivin, J, T Liu, Y Song, Q Tang, and P Zhang, “The Unintended Impacts of Straw Burning on Human Capital: Evidence from China.” Journal of Development Economics, 147(2020): 102560.

Gilbert, B and J Graff Zivin, “Dynamic Corrective Taxes with Time-Varying Salience,” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 103 (2020): 102356.

Azoulay, P, C Fons-Rosen, and J Graff Zivin, “Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time?” American Economic Review, 109(2019): 2889-2920.

Azoulay, P, J Graff Zivin, D Li, and B Sampat, “Public R&D Investments and Private Sector Patenting: Evidence from NIH Funding,” Review of Economic Studies, 86(2019): 117–152.

Chang, T, J Graff Zivin T Gross, and M Neidell, “The Effect of Pollution on Worker Productivity: Evidence from Call-Center Workers in China,” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, (11)2019: 151-172.

Graff Zivin, J. & Neidell, M. (2018). "Air pollution's hidden impacts." Science359(6371), 39-40.

Graff Zivin, J, S Hsiang, and M Neidell, “Temperature and Human Capital in the Short- and Long-Run,” Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, 5(2018): 77–105.

Bharadwaj, P, M Gibson, J Graff Zivin, and C Neilson, “Gray Matters: Fetal Pollution Exposure and Human Capital Formation,” Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, 4(2017): 505-542.

Chang T, J Graff Zivin, T Gross, and M Neidell, “Particulate Pollution and the Productivity of Pear Packers,” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 8(2016): 141–169.

Graff Zivin, J, M Damon, and H Thirumurthy “Health Shocks and Natural Resource Management: Evidence from Western Kenya.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 69(2015): 36-52.

Graff Zivin, J, M Kotchen, and E Mansur, “Spatial and Temporal Heterogeneity of Marginal Emissions: Implications for Electric Cars and Other Electricity-Shifting Policies.”Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 107(2014): 248-268.

Graff Zivin, J and M Neidell, “Temperature and the Allocation of Time: Implications for Climate Change.”Journal of Labor Economics, 32(2014): 1-26.

Graff Zivin, J and M Neidell, “Environment, Health, and Human Capital.”Journal of Economic Literature, 51(2013): 689-730.

Goldstein, M, J Graff Zivin, J Habyarimana, C Pop-Eleches, and H Thirumurthy, “The Effect of Absenteeism and Clinic Protocol on Health Outcomes: The Case of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in Kenya."American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 5(2013): 58–85.

Graff Zivin, J and M Neidell, “The Impact of Pollution on Worker Productivity.”American Economic Review, 102(2012): 3652–3673.

Azoulay, Pierre, Joshua Graff Zivin, and Gustavo Manso, "Incentives and Creativity: Evidence from the Academic Life Sciences."The RAND Journal of Economics 42.3 (2011): 527-54.

Graff Zivin, Joshua, Matthew Neidell, and Wolfram Schlenker, "Water Quality Violations and Avoidance Behavior: Evidence from Bottled Water Consumption."American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings 101.3 (2011): 448-53.

Azoulay, Pierre, Joshua Graff Zivin, and Jialan Wang, "Superstar Extinction."Quarterly Journal of Economics 125.2 (2010): 549-89.

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