Jill E. Luoto

Photo of Jill Luoto
Economist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
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Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics, University of California, Berkeley; M.A. in international and development economics, University of San Francisco; B.A. in Spanish studies, American University; B.Sc. in mathematics, American University

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Jill Luoto is an economist at the RAND Corporation who conducts research in the areas of labor, health, and behavioral economics with a focus on poverty and individual decisionmaking. She is also a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

Luoto has been principal investigator on six randomized controlled trials testing behavioral means to increase uptake of preventive health and savings behaviors, including adoption of safe water treatment and attendance at prenatal care among pregnant women in Kenya and uptake of emergency savings products among low-income Americans. She is currently PI on a five-year cluster RCT to test different means to deliver early childhood development (ECD) interventions across 60 villages and 1200 households in rural Kenya with funding from NICHD. Her recent work has been published in Journal of Development Economics, PLoS Medicine and Implementation Science, among others. Her work has utilized qualitative and quantitative methods and she has over 12 years' experience designing impact evaluations, process evaluations, surveys, and focus groups to evaluate health and savings behaviors and outcomes of vulnerable and disadvantaged populations on six continents.

Luoto received her Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Selected Publications

Luoto, Jill, David Levine, Jeff Albert, Steve Luby, "Nudging to Use: Achieving Safe Water Behaviors in Kenya and Bangladesh," Journal of Development Economics, 110, 2014

Dang, HA, P Lanjouw, J Luoto, and D McKenzie, "Using repeated cross-sections to explore movements into and out of poverty," Journal of Development Economics, 107, 2014

Luoto, J, M Maglione, B Johnsen, TR Perry, C Chang, E Higgs, and P Shekelle, "A comparison of evidence frameworks for evaluating evidence for global health interventions," PLoS Medicine, 10(7), 2013

Luoto, J, M. Mahmud, J Albert, S Luby, L. Unicomb and DI Levine, "Learning to Dislike Safe Water Products: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Direct and Peer Experience on Willingness to Pay," Environmental Science & Technology, 2012

Christiaensen, L., P. Lanjouw, J. Luoto and D. Stifel, "Small Area Estimation-Based Prediction Methods to Track Poverty: Validations and Applications," The Journal of Economic Inequality, 10(2), 2012

Albert, Jeff, Jill Luoto and David Levine, "End-User Preferences for and Performance of Competing POU Water Treatment Technologies among the Rural Poor of Kenya," Environmental Science & Technology, 44(12), 2010

Luoto, J, PG Shekelle, MA Maglione, B Johnsen, and T Perry, "Reporting of Context & Implementation in Studies of Global Health Interventions: A Pilot Study," Implementation Science, 9(57), 2014

Burke, Jeremy, Luoto, Jill, Perez-Arce, Francisco, "Soft versus Hard Commitments: A Test on Savings Behaviors," Journal of Consumer Affairs, 2017


  • Women and children collecting water from the unimproved water source of Asengo Community. Asengo Community, Kisumu, Kenya

    Using Mobile Money to Make Water Safe

    Contaminated drinking water contributes to the deaths of some 750,000 children under the age of five every year due to diarrheal disease. A RAND project is using mobile phones to increase the sales and use of safe-water filters in Kenya.

    May 21, 2013 The RAND Blog