Assistant Professor

About Anjali Adukia

Anjali Adukia is an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Her research is focused on understanding factors that influence educational decisions and the potential role for institutions, such as government agencies and nonprofit organizations, to improve child outcomes, particularly at the intersection of education and health. Her current work examines how the provision of basic needs—such as sanitation, clothing, and transportation—can increase school participation in developing contexts.

Her prior research projects have included an examination of the role of transcriptional and growth factors in cancer and organ development at Northwestern Medical School; aid with research and data collection for studies on affirmative action with The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University; and consultation with the Broadmoor Neighborhood Project in New Orleans, a collaboration involving Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, as part of rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts following Hurricane Katrina. She continues to work with non-governmental organizations internationally, such as UNICEF and Manav Sadhna in Gujarat, India.

Adukia completed her doctoral degree at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, with an academic focus on the economics of education. Her dissertation was selected as the winner of the 2014 Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) PhD Dissertation Award and the 2015 Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP) Jean Flanigan Outstanding Dissertation Award. She also possesses masters of education degrees in international education policy and higher education (administration, planning, and social policy) from the same institution. In addition, she received a bachelor of science degree in molecular and integrative physiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Photo credit: ©2017 Paul Elledge

Current Research

Sanitation and Education (April 2017, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics)

One in five children worldwide does not complete upper-primary school, with particularly high drop-out rates among pubescent-age girls that may limit economic opportunities and perpetuate gender inequality.  This paper tests whether educational attainment is stymied by endemically inadequate school sanitation that threatens children's health, privacy, and safety.  

"Educational Investment Responses to Economic Opportunity: Evidence from Indian Road Construction"
(with S. Asher and P. Novosad)

The rural poor in developing countries, once economically isolated, are increasingly being connected to regional markets. Whether these new connections crowd out or encourage educational investment is a central question. 

Research Paper

"Clothing and Student Outcomes: Evidence from a School Uniform Program"

Many schools in developing countries require students to wear uniforms. While mandatory school uniforms may generate benefits by removing a visible symbol of differences in socioeconomic status, the cost of school uniforms may be a prohibitive barrier for the poorest students. I analyze a large-scale free school uniform program in India that targets females and lower socioeconomic status students. 

"Schooling and Patience: Environmental Factors in the Development of Self-Control"

Numerous studies find that self-control increases academic and social competence, ability to save, and success in industry. However, researchers still have very little understanding of how environmental factors influence the development of these skills. This research will test whether school enrollment is positively correlated with patience, memory and attention. Preliminary findings indicate that school-going children exhibit more patience and working-memory skills than those who are not attending school.

Policy Analysis

(with B. Long.) World Bank, August 2009.

(with D. Ahlers, M. Blakley, L. Cole, M. El Dahshan, A. Hodari, H. Ko, J. Maeso, A. Noble, D. Radcliffe, M. Richards, C. Valentine, A. Van, D. Walsh, A. Watson, A. Woods, C. Wood, J. Wright, K. Yang). Harvard Kennedy School - Broadmoor Initiative, March 2007.

News and Awards

Why Toilets MatterHarvard Ed Magazine by L. Hough, 1/22/2018.

Latrines and Learning, Featured Research by R. Mordfin, 6/22/2017

Building School Latrines in India to Increase Student Enrollment, Chicago Policy Review by N. Khadijah, 5/3/2017

India's Need for School Toilets, Pulitzer Center Global Health NOW by A. Schraufnagel, 2/15/2016

Emerging Education Policy Scholar, 2017

Recipient of 2015 Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP) Jean Flanigan Outstanding Dissertation Award

Recipient of 2014 Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM) Dissertation Award

Recipient of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) South Asia Special Interest Group Dissertation Award: Honorable Mention

Promoting Education through School Sanitation, Guest Post on World Bank Blog

A Latrine of Their Own, Interviewed for Radio Harris by J. Smith

Research featured on Poke Me, a weekly editorial post on The Economic Times by U. Goswami