People Feature

James Walsh

DPhil student
DPhil in Public Policy

I am a doctoral research student at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford and a member of the World Bank’s Behavioral Science Unit, eMBeD. I am interested in the social and psychological foundations of human agency and social justice. I have worked with the World Bank for just under five years. I was a member of the research team for the World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior. In 2015, I served on the faculty of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service where I lectured in behavioral approaches to development economics. Prior to joining the World Bank, I worked as a research assistant to Robert Putnam, with the Gross National Happiness Commission of the Royal Government of Bhutan, and with Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland. I have a BA in Economics and Political Science from Trinity College Dublin and a Master in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

I study issues related to behavioral public policy. I am primarily interested in using behavioral science to support disadvantaged and marginalized communities, with a focus on low-income countries. I spend most of my time engaging in diagnostic work to understand policy problems, creating behavioral interventions to solve those policy problems, and designing field experiments to test the effectiveness of those interventions. At present, I am working with different teams on three projects. I am testing an intervention that provides psycho-social supports to unemployed youth in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I am conducting diagnostic work to identify threats to social stability between refugees and the host population in Lebanon. I am conducting survey experiments to increase the accuracy of data collected on the social and economic situation of forcibly displaced people in South Sudan and Somalia – with the goal better informing policies to support their welfare and integration, and to end displacement.

James Walsh