Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Melissa Dell is a professor in the economics department at Harvard University, a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a CEPR Research Affiliate in the Development Economics programme. Her research examines economic development and state capacity in a variety of contexts in East and Southeast Asia and Latin America. 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 use novel archival data to document the process of structural change and economic development in Mexico and Taiwan across the 20th century. In 2014, Melissa 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. She received an AB degree in economics from Harvard University, a master’s degree in economics from Oxford University – where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar – and a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Recent work by Melissa Dell
Manufacturing job loss, induced by competition with China, increased cocaine traﬃcking, thereby increasing violent crime in urban areas in Mexico
Major economic variances across present day Vietnam can be traced back to historical governance differences, highlighting the role of civil society