Krishna B. Kumar

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Director, RAND Labor and Population; Distinguished Chair in International Economic Policy; Senior Economist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in economics, University of Chicago; M.S. in computer science, University of Wisconsin

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Krishna Kumar is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation and is the director of its Labor and Population unit, whose mission is to improve socio-economic wellbeing around the world through research and analysis. He also leads the Rosenfeld Program on Asian Development at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, where he teaches a course in macroeconomic development. He is co-leading projects to study informal labor markets in Bangladesh, and has also co-led or worked on projects to calculate the gross regional product of the Kurdistan Region-Iraq, implement a labor force survey to collect data for the Kurdistan Regional Government to understand the region's unemployment rate, develop a data collection system, and recommend strategies to develop the private sector in that region. He has conducted a randomized control trial (RCT) evaluation of an agricultural training program in China to improve farmer decisions and evaluated the socio-economic impact on the working poor of moving into permanent housing in India. He has also studied the effect of U.S. federal funding of life sciences research on university R&D and commercialization, the role of economic and social policies in Mexico's development, public policy on Indian entrepreneurship, and conducted a comparative analysis of the Indian and Chinese education systems. His research has been published in leading journals in economic growth and development and macroeconomics. Kumar received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago.

Pardee RAND Graduate School Courses

Previous Positions

Director, Research And Policy in International Development (RAPID) program

Recent Projects

  • Understanding informal labor in Bangladesh using matched employer-employee surveys
  • The Formal-Informal Labor Nexus and Growth: The Case of Bangladesh
  • Agent-based model of the role of perceptions in income tax evasion
  • Calculating the gross regional product of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
  • Assessing Impact of Farmer Field Schools on Excess Fertilizer Use in China

Selected Publications

Matthew Baird, Lindsay Daugherty, Krishna Kumar and Aziza Arifkhanova, "Regional and Gender Differences and Trends in the Anesthesiologist Workforce," Anesthesiology, 2015

Krishna B. Kumar, John G. Matsusaka, "From Families to Formal Contracts: An Approach to Development," Journal of Development Economics, 90:106-119, 2009

Elizabeth M. Caucutt, Krishna B. Kumar, "Africa: Is Aid an Answer?" The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics (Advances), 8(1), 2008

Elizabeth M. Caucutt, Krishna B. Kumar, "Education for All: The Right Course for Africa?" Review of Economic Dynamics, 10:294-326, 2007

Ana Fernandes, Krishna B. Kumar, "Inappropriate Technology: What is in it for the rich?" Macroeconomic Dynamics, 11:487-518, 2007

Elizabeth M. Caucutt, Selahattin Imrohoroglu, Krishna B. Kumar, "Does the Progressivity of Income Taxes Matter for Human Capital and Growth?" Macroeconomic Dynamics, 8(1):95-118, 2006

Dirk Krueger, Krishna B. Kumar, "Skill-specific rather than General Education: A Reason for US-Europe Growth Differences?" Journal of Economic Growth, 9(2):167-207, 2004

Dirk Krueger, Krishna B. Kumar, "US-Europe differences in technology-driven growth: quantifying the role of education," Journal of Monetary Economics, 51(1):161-190, 2004

Honors & Awards

  • 2010 President's Award, RAND
  • 2008 Silver Merit Award, RAND
  • Awards for teaching excellence, Pardee RAND Graduate School, Duke Fuqua School of Business, Indian School of Business