Melissa Dell is an assistant professor in the economics department at Harvard University and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her research examines economic development and state capacity in a variety of contexts in East and Southeast Asia and Latin America. Her recent work estimates how crackdowns on the drug trade have affected drug violence and drug trafficking routes in Mexico and how different military strategies impacted the trajectory of the Vietnam War. Other recent studies estimate how climate change is affecting poor countries, how historical conflicts condition economics and politics in the long-run, and how state capacity impacts economic prosperity. Ongoing work uses novel archival data to document the process of structural change and economic development in Mexico and Taiwan across the 20th century. In 2014, Dell was named by the IMF as the youngest of 25 economists under the age of 45 shaping thought about the global economy. She has published articles in the American Economic Review, Econometrica, the Journal of Economic Literature, and elsewhere.
M. Dell, "Trafficking Networks and the Mexican Drug War," American Economic Review, 2015, 105 (6) :1738-1779.
M. Dell, B. Jones, B. Olken, "Temperature Shocks and Economic Growth: Evidence from the Last Half Century," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics,2012,4 (3) :66-95.
M. Dell, D. Acemoglu, "Productivity Differences Between and Within Countries," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 2010, 2 (1) :169–188.
M. Dell, "The Persistent Effects of Peru's Mining Mita," Econometrica, 2010, 78 (6) :1863-1903.
M. Dell, B. Jones, B. Olken, "What Do We Learn from the Weather? The New Climate-Economy Literature," Journal of Economic Literature, 2014, 52(3): 740–798.
Associate Fellow Institutions, Organizations & Growth
Harvard UniversityDepartment of Economics
PhD (Economics) Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MPhil (Economics) Oxford University
AB (Economics) Harvard University
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