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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

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Working Papers


  • Research Funding Rules: The Role of Risk and Experience in the Life Sciences (with Richard Carson and Jeffrey Shrader)
  • Quality Signaling and Willingness-To-Pay for Solar Lamps: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Senegal (with Aidan Coville, Arndt Reichert, and Ann-Kristin Reitmann)

Current and Recent Grants

  • The Health and Educational Impacts from Long-Run Exposure to Pollution in Childhood: Evidence from the US Army, National Institutes of Health, Co-Principal Investigator, 2022-2023. 
  • A National Network for Critical Technology Assessment: A First-Year Pilot, National Science Foundation, Co-Investigator, 2022-2023.
  • The Health Impacts of Long-Run Exposure to Pollution in Adulthood and Later Life: Evidence from the US Army, National Institutes of Health, Co-Principal Investigator, 2021-2022.
  • Risk, Research Funding Rules, and Social Welfare, National Science Foundation, Principal Investigator, 2016-2020.
  • Innovation in an Aging Society, National Institutes of Health, Co-Principal Investigator, 2013-2019.

For a full list of research, please visit:

Selected Recent Publications

  • Graff Zivin, J., M. Neidell, N. Sanders, and G. Singer, "When Externalities Collide: Influenza and Pollution,” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 15(2023): 320-351.
  • Carson, R., J. Graff Zivin, J. Louviere, S. Sadoff, and J. Shrader, "The Risk of Caution: Evidence from an Experiment," Management Science, 68(2022): 9042-9060.
  • 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.
  • Azoulay, P., C. Fons-Rosen, and J. Graff Zivin, “Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time?” American Economic Review, 109(2019): 2889-2920.

For a full list of publications, please visit: