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Karla Hoff

Lead Economist

KARLA HOFF is the Director of the World Development Report 2015 and a Senior Research Economist with the Development Research Group of the World Bank.  Much of her work has focused on using the tools of economics to study social interactions.  She has studied the effect of social aggregates such as neighborhoods, norms, conventions, and political constituencies on individual interests and behavior.  She has published papers that explain how good people can form bad neighborhoods, how caste identity impedes performance, and how low trust can derail the emergence of the rule of law even in the case that it would make everyone better off.  She won a Citation of Excellence for one of the top 50 papers from Emerald Management Review in 2009 for her co-authored paper, “Exiting a Lawless State.”   She was a member of the MacArthur Research Network on Inequality and Economic Performance, 1996-2006.  She coedited The Economics of Rural Organization and Poverty Traps.  Her most recent work is an evaluation of the effect of a large-scale women’s empowerment project in India on attitudes towards women.  Her work spans conceptual analysis and grassroots fieldwork.  She has a BA in French from Wellesley College and a PhD in economics from Princeton.  She taught English in the Peace Corps in the Ivory Coast.

The author's works below are drawn from the World Bank's institutional archives. You can also download other documents by this author.

World Bank Research Dataset

Toolkit for Informality Scenario Analysis
Lakner-Milanovic (2013) World Panel Income Distribution (LM-WPID)

World Bank working papers and publications

1 .Caste system
2 .Can the culture of honor lead to inefficient conventions ? experimental evidence from India
3 .Striving for balance in economics : towards a theory of the social determination of behavior
4 ."Small miracles" -- behavioral insights to improve development policy : World Development Report 2015
5 .Behavioral economics and social exclusion : can interventions overcome prejudice ?
6 .Making up people -- the effect of identity on preferences and performance in a modernizing society
7 .Tastes, castes, and culture : the influence of society on preferences
8 .Equilibrium fictions : a cognitive approach to societal rigidity
9 .Dysfunctional finance : positive shocks and negative outcomes
10 .Caste and punishment : the legacy of caste culture in norm enforcement
11 .Political alternation as a restraint on investing in influence : evidence from the post-communist transition
12 .Spite and development
13 .Exiting a lawless state
14 .Joseph E. Stiglitz
15 .The creation of the rule of law and the legitimacy of property rights : the political and economic consequences of a corrupt privatization
16 .The kin system as a poverty trap?
17 .Belief systems and durable inequalities : an experimental investigation of Indian caste
18 .The transition from communism : a diagrammatic exposition of obstacles to the demand for the rule of law
19 .Homeownership, community interactions, and segregation
20 .The World Bank research observer 18 (2)
21 .After the Big Bang? Obstacles to the emergence of the rule of law in post-communist societies
22 .The World Bank economic review 5(1)
23 .The World Bank economic review 4(3)

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