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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

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

Survey measures versus incentivized measures of risk preferences: evidence from sex workers' risky sexual transactions

Islam, A., Smyth, R., Tan, H. A. & Wang, L. C., 1 Oct 2019, In : Social Science and Medicine. 238, 8 p., 112497.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Education, marriage and fertility: long-term evidence from a female stipend program in Bangladesh

Hahn, Y., Islam, A., Nuzhat, K., Smyth, R. & Yang, H-S., 1 Jan 2018, In : Economic Development and Cultural Change. 66, 2, p. 383-415 33 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Gender bias in parental attitude: an experimental approach

Begum, L., Grossman, P. J. & Islam, A., 1 Oct 2018, In : Demography. 55, 5, p. 1641-1662 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Girl power: stipend programs and the education of younger siblings

Begum, L., Islam, A. & Smyth, R., 2017, In : Journal of Development Studies. 53, 11, p. 1882-1898 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Press / Media

Empowering vulnerable women through entrepreneurship

Abu Zafar Shahriar & Asadul Islam


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Article/Feature