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Personal profile

Research interests

Development Economics, Economics of Education and Health, Social Networks, Corruption, Economics of Immigration


I am the Director of the Centre for Development Economics and Sustainability (CDES) and Professor at the Department of Economics at Monash University. I am also the coordinator of the South Asia Research Network (SARN) at the Centre for Global Business at Monash.

My research interests are primarily in the areas of Development Economics and Demography. My recent research focuses on primary and early childhood education; technology adoption using social networks; gender, microfinance and microenterprise development; long-term effects of shocks and risk-sharing mechanisms of households; and health of disadvantaged communities. My research works span in a number of countries including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, China, Cambodia, Uganda, and Tanzania. I have published in leading journals including Economic Journal, European Economic review, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and Demography.

My work is also supported by international grants such as Australian Research council (ARC), UK Research Council (ESRC), DFID, AusAID (DFAT), International Growth Centre (IGC), European Commission and World Bank. My current work is heavily focused on early childhood development in projects in Bangladesh, Uganda and Tanzania supported by UK Research council, DFID, and Lego Foundation. I am currently working on Rohingya communities in collaboration with BRAC in Bangladesh.

Previously I received fellowship from ARC, recognized as one of the highest performing Monash early to mid-career researchers, and research award from Monash University for research impact and engagement with outside academia. I have written a number of op-eds in leading newspapers and communicated my research findings to different outlets (e.g., Behavioral Evidence Hub, VoxEU, J-PAL, Ideas for India, IGC, etc). I have also worked as a consultant for the World Bank, European Union, ADB, and UNDP.

I have worked closely with leading NGOs, government, and leading national and international development agencies. I grew up in a rural village in Bangladesh. My work involves extensive fieldwork to try understand the context and data used for my research. I am particularly interested in issues that can generate public policy interest. I am passionate about making changes in the lives of the poor people in developing countries through my research, collaboration and external engagement with NGOs, government, policymakers and development practitioners around the world.

For more information about my work, please visit my personal webpage


External positions

Adjunct Fellow, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD)

25 Jul 2016 → …

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.


Research Output

Can referral improve targeting? Evidence from an agricultural training experiment

Fafchamps, M., Islam, A., Malek, M. A. & Pakrashi, D., May 2020, In : Journal of Development Economics. 144, 18 p., 102436.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Distributional effects of corruption when enforcement is biased: theory and evidence from bribery in schools in Bangladesh

Emran, M. S., Islam, A. & Shilpi, F., Oct 2020, In : Economica. 87, 348, p. 985-1015 31 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Friendship and female education: evidence from a field experiment in Bangladeshi primary schools

Hahn, Y., Islam, A., Patacchini, E. & Zenou, Y., Apr 2020, In : The Economic Journal. 130, 627, p. 740-764 25 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Height and health among older Chinese

Islam, A., Raschky, P. & Smyth, R., 2020, Measuring, Understanding and Improving Wellbeing Among Older People. Awaworyi Churchill, S., Farrell, L. & Appau, S. (eds.). 1st ed. Singapore Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 149-160 12 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

Labour market and human capital behaviour of immigrant couples: evidence from Australia

Derby, S. J., Islam, A. & Smyth, R., Apr 2020, In : International Migration. 58, 2, p. 118-142 25 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Press / Media

Empowering vulnerable women through entrepreneurship

Abu Zafar Shahriar & Asadul Islam


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Article/Feature