Natalie Bau



  • CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar
  • Institutions, Organizations & Growth


  • University of Toronto
Department of Economics


  • Canada


PhD (Public Policy), Harvard University
AB (Economics), Harvard University


Natalie Bau explores the interaction between cultural norms, economic behaviour and development policies.

In one strand of her research, she studies the role that norms play in determining how much an ethnic group’s female educational attainment increases in response to large-scale school-building programs. In another strand, she shows that pension plans may play a larger or smaller role in crowding out parents’ educational investments in their children, depending on the cultural norms practised by the parents’ ethnic group. Additionally, Bau studies how policies can have unintended consequences, leading cultural practices to evolve and change. Understanding how culture affects individuals’ reactions to different policy initiatives is important for understanding how these policy initiatives will affect growth.


Connaught New Researcher Award

Christopher and Silvana Pascucci Graduate Student Dissertation Fellowship

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Harvard Inequality and Social Policy Doctoral Fellowship

Relevant Publications

Ashraf, N. et al. “Bride Price and Female Education.” NBER Working Papers 22417 (2016).