A multi-disciplinary, informal and free-flowing research environment

Research Areas


In line with the goal of CESR to conduct a wide range of research projects in the social sciences and economics, scientists and staff working at the center work on a variety of topics. Broadly speaking, these encompass the following areas of research:

Economics of Education. Goal: Understand the impact of policies and provide research to help improve education policy and practices. CESR education research addresses the evaluation of specific education programs and policies as well as the analysis and development of new methods for topics such as effects of education reforms, minority access, interactions between schools and labor market outcomes, returns to education, and measurement and improvement of education quality.

Financial Decision Making. Goal: Improve the understanding of how people reach decisions about issues affecting their economic status, particularly in old age. CESR is focused on how people collect and process information, how they interpret the features of alternatives, how they think about risks and probabilities, how they tradeoff between the present and the future, what their preferences are, and how well they match their decisions to those preferences. Weak links in this process are used to draw implications for better education, information provision or other mechanisms to help people make decisions that better serve them in old age.

Health, Health Disparities, and Socio-Economic Status. Goal: Explore the links between health and wealth, as well as research the differences in health between groups of people. Differences in health (health disparities) can affect how frequently a disease affects a group, how many people get sick, or how often the disease causes death. Differences in wealth have impacts in many long-term outcomes of a population. CESR seeks to understand how different racial and ethnic minorities, geographic areas of living, genders, ages and disabilities affect individual health and income.

Development Economics. Goal: Investigate all aspects of the development process in low-income countries using economic and other scientific methods. Effective policies in growing countries can improve the well-being potential for an entire country’s population. Health, education, workforce and family finance are all important areas of study, particularly in emerging economies. CESR seeks theories and methods that can assist with the creation of policies and practices that can be implemented by public and private entities for long term impact.

Aging Populations. Goal: Study the implications of an aging population in countries around the world. As the proportion of older people increases in the U.S. and around the world governments and individuals will face new challenges in healthcare, retirement and labor market supply. CESR research addresses population aging issues in areas such as economic growth, employment, retirement, health care and social support services. With fewer workers to fund retiree needs, population shifts will especially burden low-income countries. In all countries the demographics of aging and health are a major issue for policy makers.

Work Disability. Goal: Understand the impacts of policies and providing research to inform decisions about support for those partly or completely unable to work due to disability. Disability support provides an important safety net relied on by economically vulnerable groups in many parts of the world. CESR looks into outcomes of research on disability and the policies that address disability, to ensure they are effective and don’t jeopardize an already challenged population.

Subjective Well-Being. Goal: Examine the science of happiness. By incorporating many fields, including psychology, economics and sociology, CESR research looks for the determinants of life satisfaction and well-being across nations around the world. When researching well-being globally, it is necessary to correct for cultural differences in how people answer subjective questions. CESR surveys, analyzes and creates economic models to understand cross-country variations.

Mobile Health
Goal: Our research focuses on obesity prevention and treatment in minority youth. Our Transdisciplinary research approach is geared towards understanding the biological, behavioral, social, and environmental causes of childhood obesity in order to develop culturally sensitive, evidence based approaches to promote health behavior change. New technologies in mobile health (mHealth) and interactive media are central to our approach. We are committed to reducing health disparities in children.
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