Res authors Detail

LEADING ECONOMIST
JULIÁN CRISTIA
JULIÁN CRISTIA

Julian Cristia is a Lead Economist in the Research Department at the Inter-American Development Bank. His current research analyzes how governments can promote skills development with limited increases in public spending. He has evaluated programs that introduced technology into schools and expanded access to pre-primary education. Additionally, he has produced systematic reviews on early childhood development, the use of technology in education and how to improve learning in primary schools. His work has appeared in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Human Resources, and Journal of Health Economics. His research has been covered by several media outlets including The Economist, NPR, and Associated Press. Prior to joining the IDB, he worked as an Associate Analyst in the Health and Human Resources Division of the Congressional Budget Office. Cristia holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Maryland.

LATEST OPINION PIECES

Big Data in the Age of the Coronavirus

When and where will infection rates from the coronavirus surge? How are people responding to quarantine measures? And how is the pandemic affecting people’s economic and social activity? The answers to these questions and the policy measures taken in response are critical to improving well-being and saving lives. The problem is that amidst the immensely […]

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Human Mobility Map Shows that People Are Observing Social Distancing

In recent weeks, the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean have implemented a battery of measures to encourage social distancing and reduce the infection rate of the coronavirus. Although it is clear that human mobility has indeed dropped significantly, important questions persist. How much has mobility declined in the region? In what countries has […]

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A Jump in Social Distancing in Latin America, According to Google Search Data

The coronavirus threatens to cast a shadow of death and illness wherever it goes. To fight it, experts recommend “social distancing”—that is, that people avoid interacting with each other and stay in their homes. The governments of Latin America are promoting social distancing using a variety of measures. But have they been successful? We looked […]

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Can Games Boost Math Learning For Poor Kids?

Aaron Pinto, age 11, always loved math. He just wasn’t very good at it. He stumbled with multiplication, fractions and decimals, refused to use pencil and paper, and made mistake after mistake as he tried to work things out on his fingers or in his head. Frustrated, at times even depressed, he couldn’t seem to […]

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Some Economists Say We’re Less Selfish Than We Think. Why?

Ask anyone in a Western society what makes the world go round, and they are likely to say selfishness, or at least self-interest. It is an idea drilled into us by Thomas Hobbes more than three hundred years ago and by Adam Smith, who argued for the benefits of self-interest in economic progress. It seems […]

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What Can Andre Agassi Teach Us About Socio-Emotional Skills?

When tennis great Andre Agassi flamed out at age 26 dropping from No. 1 in the world to a humiliating No. 141 two years later, commentators attacked his vanity, emotional instability and erratic behavior. Agassi had triumphed in three of tennis’s four great tournaments. How could he descend to such lows, where he would deliberately […]

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Can the Internet Boost Learning in Latin America?

Can internet access at home stimulate learning among children? It is an especially urgent question in developing countries where digital access and educational achievement lag considerably behind those in developed ones. Ofer Malamud, Santiago Cueto, Diether Beuermann and I decided to address the issue in an experiment where we provided both laptops and internet access to […]

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When Poverty Is No Obstacle to Educational Success

Villa Esperanza, is a shantytown of unpaved streets and low-slung tin-roofed house, a place where the prospects for children would seem grim. Most adults in the town outside Lima work selling goods on the street or in other low-paying jobs. Many are illiterate, and the social problems, ranging from gangs to high levels of alcoholism, […]

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It’s Time to Improve Primary Education: This Is How

Over the last 25 years, Latin America and the Caribbean has boosted efforts in primary education to the point that it is nearly universal, with three out of four students finishing primary school on time. But educational quality for very young children in the region still lags far behind that of developed countries. It even […]

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Curing Education’s Ills With Lessons From Medicine

Latin America’s educational systems are failing their students. Despite steady advances in enrollment, students in the region perform considerably worse on standardized tests than their counterparts in advanced economies. They even trail students from developing economies with similar levels of development. The problem is not lack of spending. The average country in the region spends […]

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When the Scientific Method Goes to School

Ask any parent in Latin America or the Caribbean what they most want for their kids, and you’re very likely to hear it summed up in one word: education. Parents know that learning can bring their children satisfaction, success and prosperity, and they’ve opened their wallets, spending a higher share of their household budget on […]

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SkillsBank: The Sweeping New Website on Skills Development

On Aug. 30, the Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank launched its 2017 flagship report, examining the challenges of skills development throughout people’s lives. Based on a deep review of studies from around the world, the report, Learning Better: Public Policy for Skills Development, uses rigorous evidence to determine which interventions work and which […]

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Capitalizing on Teacher Satisfaction: Using Tutors to Energize Education

They labor in loud and unruly environments, with demanding and emotional people. They impose discipline constantly, and their wages are notoriously poor. Yet, according to data from a survey of 15 Latin American countries, an average of 98% of primary school teachers say they like their jobs. If this seems surprising, it shouldn’t. Careers that […]

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The Miracle of Parenting Programs?

For decades now, researchers have suspected that investments in early childhood development pay off richly. That is because providing the right intellectual and emotional stimulation to children in their first years could open a new future. It may not only lead to smarter, more prosperous and more socially-adapted adults. It could generate more equality and […]

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Health vs. Education: A Tale of Two Sectors

The history of health and education over the last half century is a tale of two sectors, one vastly more dynamic and successful than the other. On the bright side, Latin America — and much of the world — has made immense progress in eradicating diseases that caused death, deformities and suffering, like smallpox and […]

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Did You Get Your Shots? In Rural Communities in Guatemala a Simple Reminder Improved Health

By: Matias Busso and Julian Cristia  Take a moment to recall the last time you forgot someone’s birthday. When was the last time you were at the grocery store and forgot that one crucial ingredient for dinner? How many times have you been locked out in the past year? A good memory is undoubtedly important for […]

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Publications