Krishna B. Kumar

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Director, RAND International Research; 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

Media Resources

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Krishna Kumar is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation and its director of International Research and director of the Initiative for Global Human Progress at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, where teaches economic development. He holds RAND’s Distinguished Chair in International Economic Policy, and previously directed RAND’s Labor & Population research unit. He has led or co-led projects to find mutually beneficial opportunities for Syrian refugees and host countries in the Middle East, studied informal labor markets in Bangladesh, developed a comprehensive model of U.S. labor market inequality, calculated the gross regional product of the Kurdistan Region—Iraq, implemented a labor force survey to collect data for the Kurdistan Regional Government to understand the region’s unemployment rate, and developed a data collection system. He has worked on strategies to develop the private sector in the Kurdistan region, conducted a randomized control trial 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 holds a Ph.D. in economics from The University of Chicago. 

Pardee RAND Graduate School Courses

Previous Positions

Director, RAND Labor & Population

Recent Projects

  • Mutually Beneficial Opportunities for Syrians and Host Countries in Middle Eastern Labor Markets
  • 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

Selected Publications

, "Opportunities for All: Mutually Beneficial Opportunities for Syrians and Host Countries in Middle Eastern Labor Markets" (with Shelly Culbertson et al), RAND (RR-2653-QFFD), 2018

, "Calculating the Gross Regional Product of the Kurdistan Region – Iraq" (with Shmuel Abramzon et al), (RR-1405-KRG), 2016

, “University R&D Funding Strategies in a Changing Federal Funding Environment” (with Margaret E. Blume-Kohout and Neeraj Sood), Science and Public Policy (2015), 42(3): 355-368;
doi: 10.1093/scipol/scu054

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

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

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

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

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

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Monocle; Talk Media News