Laura Schechter

Position title: Professor, Agricultural & Applied Economics


Phone: (608) 262-9482

334 Taylor Hall
427 Lorch Street

Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics
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Curriculum Vitae


My research looks at how social preferences impact economic outcomes in developing countries and how they can be harnessed to improve outcomes. Exposure to risk and limits placed on collective action by lack of trust both keep people poor and decrease health and economic well-being. One of my current projects (funded by the International Growth Centre) looks at how new monitoring technologies and incentive programs can encourage extension agents to increase their efforts to improve health and decrease inequality among Paraguayan farmers. In another ongoing project (funded by the Gates Foundation), I look at social learning and social interactions in the adoption of improved sanitation technologies by urban Africans and their impact on the health of urban families. An older, highly cited and utilized, area of my research looked at how to measure vulnerability and discussed why this was of interest above and beyond simply measuring poverty.

CDE research theme area affiliations

Demography of Inequality; Health and the Life Course

Selected Publications

Barham, Bradford L., Jean-Paul Chavas, Dylan Fitz, and Laura Schechter. “Receptiveness to Advice, Cognitive Ability, and Technology Adoption.” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 149 (2018): 239-68. PubMed Central ID 6086360.

Chuang, Yating T., and Laura Schechter. “Stability of Experimental and Survey Measures of Risk, Time, and Social Preferences: A Review and Some New Results.” Journal of Development Economics 117 (2015): 151-70. PubMed Central ID 6070154.