Lori Beaman

Assistant Professor of Economics


Economist Lori Beaman's research centers on two main themes. First, she examines how social networks affect economic decision making—particularly the dissemination of information in the labor market and agriculture—in the United States and developing countries. Second, Beaman studies constraints on women's participation in the economy and in politics.

Beaman is a junior fellow of the Bureau for Research in Economic Analysis and Development (BREAD) and an associate editor of the Journal of Development Economics.

Current Research

Do Job Networks Disadvantage Women? Beaman, Jeremy Magruder of the University of California, Berkeley and Niall Keleher of Innovations for Poverty Action are investigating whether the use of employee referrals disadvantage women in the labor market. Despite recent gains in educational attainment, there continues to be a large gender gap in women’s participation in the formal labor market in Malawi. Using a field experiment in urban Malawi with survey enumerators applying for new jobs, the researchers ask whether firms’ use of social networks in making hiring decisions is one reason women are disadvantaged. In particular, do social networks generate more economic opportunities for men than for women, and if so, what are some of the underlying mechanisms?

Making Networks Work for Policy: Evidence from Agricultural Technology Adoption in Malawi. Beaman, Magruder, Ariel BenYishay of New South Wales and A. Mushfiq Mobarak of Yale Business School investigate the potential for linking government extension agents in Malawi with the social networks that exist at the village level. The project will identify key contact farmers who are typically responsible for spreading new information to other farmers within a village. This project will test different strategies of identifying these key farmers, and the relative impact of those strategies on the diffusion of information, and ultimately adoption of conservation agriculture practices in the village as a whole.

Selected Publications

Beaman, L., and J. Magruder. Forthcoming. Who gets the job referral? Evidence from a social networks experiment (pdf)American Economic Review.

Beaman, L., E. Duflo, R. Pande, and P. Topalova. 2012. Female leadership raises aspirations and educational attainment for girls: A policy experiment in IndiaScience 335(6068): 582-86. 

Beaman, L. 2012. Social networks and the dynamics of labor market outcomes: Evidence from refugees resettled in the U.SThe Review of Economic Studies 79(1): 128-61.

Beaman, L., and A. Dillon. 2012. Do household definitions matter in survey design? Results from a randomized survey experiment in MaliJournal of Development Economics 98(1):124-35.

Beaman, L., E. Duflo, R. Pande, and P. Topalova. 2010-11. Political reservation and substantive representation: Evidence from Indian village councilsIndia Policy Forum, vol. 7, ed. S. Bery, B. Bosworth and A. Panagariya, Brookings Institution Press and The National Council of Applied Economic Research: Washington, D.C. and New Delhi.

Beaman, L., R. Chattopadhyay, E. Duflo, R. Pande, and P. Topalova. 2009. Powerful women: Does exposure reduce bias? Quarterly Journal of Economics 124(4): 1497–540.