Tauhidur Rahman

Founding Director, The Initiative for Agency and Development
Associate Professor, Dept. of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Associate Professor, Dept. of Economics (Courtesy)
E: | T: (520) 390-6210


Ph.D., School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University, 2004
M.S., Statistics (ABD), Washington State University, 2004
M.A., Economics, Delhi School of Economics, 1997
B.A. (Honors), Economics, Aligarh Muslim University, 1994


Tauhidur Rahman is a development economist. He is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and Department of Economics (Courtesy), at the University of Arizona. He is the Founding Director of the Initiative for Agency and Development (IfAD). He is also a Research Professor at the Center for Philosophy of Freedom. He was a visiting professor of law and economics at University of Oslo, Norway. He was trained as an applied econometrician, with research interests in the fields of development economics, behavioral economics, law and economics, and program evaluation. He has studied issues such as measurements and analysis of human well-being, child labor, child and elderly health, environmental justice and environmental regulations, interlinkages between poverty-inequality-wellbeing, economic sustainability of smallholding farmers and MSMEs, market system development, and community-driven livelihoods programs. His current research is on the issues of women’s agency, behavioral impacts of development programs, decision-making under uncertainty, climate-resilient development, and political economy of development. He has served on panels of USDA, EPA, NSF, and has collaborated with USAID and UN institutions. He is the coauthor of Environmental Justice and Federalism (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013), and the author of two-volume book (in progress), Empowering the Poor.



Recent Publications

Rahman, Tauhidur (Forthcoming). Poverty, Agency, and Development. Social Philosophy & Policy, Volume 40.1. In Press.

Ambade, P.N., Smita Pakhale, and Tauhidur Rahman (Forthcoming). Explaining Caste-Based Disparities in Enrollment for National Health Insurance Program in India: a Decomposition Analysis. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. In Press.

Dayal, V., Anand Murugesan, & Tauhidur Rahman (2022). Drain on your health: Sanitation externalities from dirty drains in India. Review of Development Economics, 26(4), 2251–2273.

Thapa, Bhuwan and Tauhidur Rahman (2021). Multi-level determinants of crop choice to water stress in smallholder irrigation system of Central Nepal. Climate and Development, Vol. 13 (7): 581-592.

Bambauer, Jane and Tauhidur Rahman (2020). The Quiet Resignation: Why Do So Many Female Lawyers Abandon Their Careers? U.C. Irvine Law Review,Volume 10. Lead Article.

Recent Policy Papers

Rahman, Tauhidur (2022). Decision-making under climate uncertainty, climate information service, and climate adaptation. Background Paper for 2022 Human Development Report, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), New York City, NY.

Rahman, Tauhidur (2021). Targeting the Poor and the Ultra-Poor. Background Paper. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Rome, Italy.

Eichman, Nikolaus and Tauhidur Rahman (2020). USAID Private Sector Engagement within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region: Assessing the Current State, Envisioning the Future. ThinkPiece. United States Agency for International Development (USAID),Washington DC.

Rahman, Tauhidur., J. Buizer, and Z. Guido (2016). Economic Impact of Seasonal Forecast Information Service in Jamaica, 2014-2015. Research Report. United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Washington DC.

Selected Working Papers

Liu, Xiaoou; Tauhidur Rahman, and Xiangrui Wang. “Air Pollution, Outdoor Activities, and Small Business.”

Petkovic, Aleksandra and Tauhidur Rahman. “Government Accountability and Development: Evidence from Young Democracies.”

Ambade, Preshit and Tauhidur Rahman. “Do National Health Insurance Programs for the Poor Improve the Relative Health Outcomes of the Poor? Evidence from India.”

Hoff, K, Tauhidur Rahman and V. Rao. “Epistemic Discrimination against Women: Experimental Evidence from India.”

Kishore, Sidharth and Tauhidur Rahman. “Adaptation of Rural Livelihoods and Perceived Climate Change I: Evidence from a Drought-Prone Region of India.”

Kishore, Sidharth and Tauhidur Rahman. “Adaptation of Rural Livelihoods and Perceived Climate Change II: Evidence from a Flood-Prone Region of India.”

Kumar, Ashutosh and Tauhidur Rahman. “Can a Women’s Anti-Poverty Program Affect Women’s Mental Health? Experimental Evidence from India.”

Rahman, Tauhidur; and Wenjun Wu. “Gender Attitudes and Intergenerational Co-residence: Evidence from East Asia.”

Navelski, J. and Tauhidur Rahman. “Does Open Government Pay? The Impact of Open Government on Trust in Public Institutions.”

Selected Work in Progress

Can a Woman’s Anti-Poverty Program Affect Women’s Executive Function?
Gender Norms and a Women’s anti-Poverty Program: Experimental Evidence from India.
Economic Shock and Gender Specific Labour Market Outcomes: Evidence from Young Lawyers.

Current Projects

Women’s Agency: One of the most fundamental kinds of social exclusion is exclusion from the ability to contribute to society’s shared pool of knowledge. The philosopher Miranda Fricker calls this “epistemic injustice.” It is one way that legitimacy may follow power. Epistemic injustice against women would deepen women’s poverty since a woman whose word is devalued is constrained in every direction—in making contracts, communicating ideas, exercising authority, and defending herself from violence. But little work has examined whether prejudice devalues the credibility judgments of what women say. This project develops new games and experiments and uses them with 500 husband-and-wife pairs in the representative villages of Bihar, India, to study this question. In the follow up evaluation project on women’s agency, Dr. Rahman and his collaborators use members of women’s self-help groups from 146 villages, in only half of which JEEViKA has been active for an extensive period [over 4 years] to study the impact of JEEViKA on women’s agency (e.g., executive function, mental and emotional health, gender norms, and epistemic discrimination). [Collaborators: Karla Hoff and Vijayendra Rao, World Bank] In related project, Dr. Rahman (with Jane Bambauer and Pengfan Zhang), utilizing longitudinal data from the career trajectory of young lawyers, examines the impact of macroeconomic shocks on gender gaps in labor market outcomes and provides insights into the role of asymmetric cultural acceptance of female under-employment.

Women’s Empowerment as a Tool for Fighting Poverty: Behavioral Impacts: Identifying effective ways to reduce poverty is one of the most important intellectual challenges before economists. To gauge the effectiveness of a program, changes in income, business formation, and nutrition resulting from anti-poverty programs are tracked, and this is a well-established area of research. However, what has not been subject to careful investigation is the relevance of an indirect channel of poverty reduction whereby an anti-poverty program changes the overall economic attitudes and orientations of the targeted individuals, and this change in attitude leads to the observed increase in income and entrepreneurial activity. To study such changes in economic behavioral orientations, this project develops incentivized tasks, which are adaptations of protocols developed in experimental economics for participants who have only a minimal level of education. Literacy and numeracy are not necessary to complete the tasks. The goal is to understand what the underlying attitudinal drivers of women’s empowerment and its capacity might be to lift individuals and families out of poverty. Thus, this project contributes to experimental methodology by adapting the tasks, to empirical evaluation of poverty reduction programs, and potentially to the theoretical modeling of the relationship between female empowerment and economic development. [Collaborators: Charles Noussair, Professor of Economics, and Tamar Kugler, Professor of Organizational Management, University of Arizona]

Climate Information Service, Adaptation, and Rural Livelihoods: This is a collaborative project with the Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society (BRLPS), an initiative of the Government of Bihar and the World Bank for poverty alleviation. This research involves two randomized experiments (146 villages in a drought-prone region, and 146 villages in a flood-prone region) in India to study the impacts of a climate information service (CIS) provided to rural communities on their livelihoods. The objectives are four-fold: (a) estimate the impacts of the CIS on the modernization of agriculture, climate-resilient agricultural practices, sectoral allocation of labor, livelihood diversification, saving and investment behavior, and long-term behavioral change, among other outcomes; (b) provide new insights on efficient designs of CISs; (c) provide results on relative efficacies of the CIS in two agro-climatic (drought-prone and flood-prone) regions; and finally (d), demonstrate evidence-based templates for the programming of CISs in other drought and flood-prone regions of the world, and the designing of climate-resilient rural livelihoods (anti-poverty) programs. Baseline data was collected during 2017. [Collaborators: JEEViKA, Government of Bihar]

AREC 339/Econ 339. Economic Statistics


This is a fundamental level undergraduate course in probability and statistics for students in economics and related fields. It covers application and interpretation of mathematical statistics to problems in economics, business, and finance. It is a prerequisite for many senior level courses in economics and related. A thorough understanding of the material in the class is essential for empirical research in economics and other related fields.

AREC 512/Econ 512. Development Economics


The interrelated issues of economic growth, poverty, inequality, education, and health have always been the central focus of economic development discourse. Not surprisingly, life is better now than almost any time in history. People are wealthier and healthier. Today fewer people live in poverty and lives are longer. Yet millions still live in extreme poverty. While lives are longer, they are longer only for some people and in some countries. While poverty has declined, the gaps between poor and rich have increased. While today economic development is more inclusive, some people are excluded. While some developing countries have transitioned out of poverty into modern economic juggernauts, some find themselves in low-and middle-income traps. While the ideas and resources have spread across countries, policies that are effective in generating economic development are often not adopted, are poorly implemented, or end up backfiring over time. While we know more about what policies and interventions are needed to generate better development outcomes, we know much less about why those approaches succeed so well in some contexts but fail in others. Over the past 200 years, economists have made significant advances towards providing a better, systematic understanding of these and related questions. This graduate level development economics course provides students an overview of this progress in economic development thinking and practice. The goal is to allow students to analyze development issues and policy debates from the lens of economic theory, supported by rigorous evidence.

AREC 596A. Agricultural and Resource Economics


This is a 1-credit unit seminar course. It is designed for the presentation and discussion of research methods and ideas in economics. The topics covered include natural, lab and field experiments, classical and Keynesian approaches to economics, major ideas in macroeconomics, special issues in econometrics, special issues in microeconomics, economics Nobel-prize winning ideas, and current economic policy debates. Other course activities include discussion about job market strategies, PhD application, and presentations by students (e.g., thesis, assigned papers)

Recent Talks

“Environmental Justice.” Department of Private Law, University of Oslo, Norway, 06 January 2023 (Scheduled).

“Epistemic Discrimination against Women: Experimental Evidence from India.” Department of Economics, Behavioral Research in Economics Workshop (BREW)-Economic Science Association (ESA) 2022, 16-18 December 2022, Bangalore, India (Scheduled).

“The Global Poor, Their Lives, and Anti-Poverty Policies." The Science Policy & Diplomacy Speaker Series, University of Arizona, 28 October 2022.

“Decision-making under climate uncertainty, climate-resilient development, and long-term impacts of development programs." Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Washington DC, 19 May 2022.

“Gender Norms, Women’s Executive Function, and Anti-Poverty Programs: Experimental Evidence from India.” African Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, 4 March 2022.

“Poverty, Agency, and Development.” Social Philosophy & Policy Conference, Tucson, Arizona, 2-5 December 2021.

“Air Pollution, Traffic, and Retail Business.” 2021 Northeast Universities Development Consortium (NEUDC) conference, November 5, 2021.

“Air Pollution, Traffic, and Retail Business.” 15th North American Meeting of the Urban Economics Association, 14-16 October 2021.

Moderator, “Good Intentions Don’t Save Lives, Good Evidence Can!”, IfAD Public Talk by Marie Gaarder (Executive Director, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation), 28 May 2021.

Moderator, “Revisiting the MCC Model: Evidence, Ownership, and Impact.” IfAD Public Talk by Mark Sundberg (Chief Economist, Millennium Challenge Corporation), 14 April 2021.

Moderator, “Women’s Agency, Impact Forecasts, and Investment”, IfAD Public Talk by Kenneth Chomitz (Chief Economist, Global Innovation Fund), 30 April 2021.

Moderator, “Human Development Report 2020”, IfAD Public Talk by Pedro Conceicao (Director, Human Development Report Office, UNDP), 26 March 2021.

“Climate Resilience and Adaptation: Evidence from Communities in South Asia.” Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), New York City, New York, 02 February 2021.

“Environmental Justice and the Superfund Program in the United States.” Superfund Colloquium, University of Arizona Superfund Research Center, 10 December 2020.

“Epistemic Discrimination against Women: Experimental Evidence from India.” Department of Economics, Eller College of Management, University of Arizona, 17 November 2020.

“Gender Norms, Women’s Executive Function, and Anti-Poverty Programs: Experimental Evidence from India.” M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSRF), Chennai, India, 01 October 2020.

“USAID Private Sector Engagement within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region: Assessing the Current State, Envisioning the Future.” At Middle East Bureau, USAID, Washington DC, 27 September 2020.

“Behavioral Evaluation of Women’s Empowerment Programs.” At United Nations Development Program, Latin America and Caribbean, New York City, NY. 24 October 2019

“Behavioral and Attitudinal Impacts of JEEViKA – Women’s Empowerment.” At JEEViKA, Government of Bihar, May 21, 2018

“Climate Information Service, Adaptation, and the Rural Livelihoods: Tow Randomized Experiments in India.” At Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia, Bangkok, Thailand, 05 February 2017

“Economic Impact of Seasonal Drought Forecast Information Service in Jamaica, 2014-2015.” At United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Washington DC, February 18, 2016

“Economic Impact of Seasonal Drought Forecast Information Service in Jamaica, 2014-2015.” At Abt Associates, February 18, 2016

“Economic Impact of Seasonal Drought Forecast Information Service in Jamaica, 2014-2015.” At National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Silver Spring, Maryland, February 18, 2016

Insights from economics, law, and behavioral sciences to inform identification and designs of effective development policies and programs to promote agency and economic development.

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