I am Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics and in the Social Research Institute at University College London; and Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and at IZA Bonn. I am also Associate Editor at the Journal of Health Economics and at Health Economics, Trustee at the Foundation Years Information and Research, and scientific adviser of the Lancet Commission for Gender-Based Violence and Maltreatment of Young People.
My research areas of interest are health economics, the economics of human development, and biology and economics. My research studies the causes and consequences of inequalities in health, and examines lifecourse impacts, mechanisms and Returns of Investments, of policies aimed at preventing or reducing them, with a focus on women’s and children’s well-being. I often use novel sources of data, such as biomarkers (ranging from fetal ultrasound scans to genetic markers), combined with linked administrative records and survey data. I have studied several interventions, such as the iconic Perry Preschool, Abecedarian and Nurse Family Partnership programs in the United States; and large-scale programmes such as Sure Start, the Family Nurse Partnership and Universal Health Visiting in England, and Seguro Popular in Mexico. Most of my work focuses on US and UK, however I have also worked on LMICs such as Colombia, India, Mexico and more recently Ecuador.
I have published on this topic in top journals in different disciplines, such as Science, PNAS, Pediatrics, the Economic Journal, the Journal of Public Economics, the Journal of Econometrics and Lancet. My research has been supported among others by the NIH, H2020, ERC, Nuffield Foundation, Health Foundation, British Academy. My work has been mentioned among others in the New York Times, Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and discussed in the British Parliament.
In 2019 I was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize in Economics (for my project on “Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Universal Health Visiting in UK”), which “recognises the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising”; and the Nick Hales Award from the DOHaD society, for a “young and emerging investigator who has made an outstanding scientific contribution to the DOHaD field”. I am also the PI of a 5-year ERC Consolidator Award from the European Research Council (SH1 Economics Panel) for my project “The Developmental Origins of Health: Biology, Shocks, Investments, and Policies”.
I hold a PhD in Economics from the University of Essex. Prior to joining UCL, I was a Post-Doctoral Scholar (under the mentorship of Nobel Prize Winner James Heckman) and then an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago.
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