Faculty – Silvia Prina

Silvia Prina - Associate Professor, Economics
Associate Professor, Economics

Office Hours: Spring 2016: Tuesday 1-3pm or by appointment

Silvia Prina received her Ph.D. in Economics from Boston University in 2007. Her research ranges across development economics and applied microeconomics, with a special focus on access to savings accounts and investment in education and health. Her works feature rigorous empirical methods and the implementation of unique, randomized interventions to answer questions of central importance in development economics.

She has been and is working on several field experiments in Nepal, Mexico, Tanzania, and the U.S. In Nepal, her research shows that access to a formal savings account enables poor households to save and invest in health and human capital. Work in progress is looking at the effects of financial access on time preferences and on the network of financial transactions. In Mexico, a country with one of the highest obesity rates in the world, Prina’s research shows that health report cards improve parents’ knowledge about their children’s health status. In Tanzania, she is analyzing the effects of providing mobile savings accounts on those individuals who do not adopt the account. Finally, in the U.S. she is studying the importance of peer effects in eating choices among schoolchildren.

Additionally, Dr. Prina is interested in how aspirations of the poor can be shaped and in their role in educational attainment. In one of her papers she shows that exposure to educated professionals increases the educational aspirations parents have towards their children. Her latest efforts focus on the impact of financial access on aspirations and investment in education.

Dr. Prina has also examined the impact of fertility choices on income inequality and long-run mobility. She has also studied the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on agricultural trade between Mexico and the U.S. as well as on the distribution of Mexican farm incomes during the 1990s.

Personal Website

PhD, Boston University, 2007
MA, Boston University, 2005
BA, Universita degli Studi Milano-Bicocca, 2002

Initially Appointed: 2007

Interests and Courses


Development Economics, Applied Microeconomics


Development Economics, Principles of Microeconomics, Intermediate Microeconomics

Recent Courses and Syllabi

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Selected Publications


  • Prina, S. (Presenter & Author) Economics Department Seminar, "Banking the Poor via Savings Accounts: Evidence from a Field Experiment", Yale University, Yale University, New Haven CT. (2013).
  • Prina, S. Annual Bank Conference in Development Economics, "The Effect of Social Programs and Exposure to Professionals on the Educational Aspirations of the Poor", World Bank, Stockholm. (2010).
  • Prina, S. Children and Education Spring Meeting , "The Effect of Social Programs and Exposure to Professionals on the Educational Aspirations of the Poor", NBER, Boston. (2010).

Academic and Professional Activities

  • European Association of Labor Economists. 2012 - Present
  • Midwest Economics Association. 2011 - Present
  • Population and Poverty Research Network. 2011 - Present
  • Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association. 2008 - Present
  • Member, Econometric Society. 2007 - Present
  • American Economic Association. 2007 - Present


  • Banamex Economic Prize, Banamex. (2011).