Danila Serra


Associate Professor

Texas A&M University

Department of Economics

& Bush School of Government and Public Service

Email: dserra@tamu.edu

Phone: (+1) 979-862-4412

Office: LASB 242



About Me


PhD Students




NEWS: Elira Kuka and I have launched the ADOPT a PAPER mentoring program, which aims to expand and diversify junior scholars’ access to high quality feedback on a working paper prior to journal submission. The program currently targets Assistant Professors and post-doctoral scholars at research-intensive institutions in the US, Canada and Europe.


The third round of Adopt a Paper is ongoing. The deadline to apply, by filling in the application form (https://www.adoptapaper.org/apply.html) was December 17, 2022. The deadline to submit the paper, for those who applied, was January 17, 2023. For information on previous rounds, see: https://www.adoptapaper.org/past-rounds.html . The fourth round of Adopt a Paper will take place in Fall 2023.




Research fields: Experimental and Behavioral Economics; Development Economics; Political Economy; Gender; Education.



·       PhD in Economics, University of Oxford, Department of Economics and Centre for the Study of African Economies;

·       MSc in Economics, London School of Economics;

·       BS (laurea) in Economics and Social Sciences (DES), Bocconi University, Milan.


Editorial Boards:

·       Sep 2021 -    Co-editor, Economic Inquiry

·       May 2020 -     Associate Editor, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.






“Can high school counselors help the economics pipeline?” with Melissa Gentry (Texas A&M) and Jonathan Meer (Texas A&M). Forthcoming, American Economic Association P&P. Email me for draft.

·       Presented at ASSA 2023: slides

·       Video recording of the presentation, as part of the CSWEP session on “Gender in the Economics Profession”



“Role Models in Developing Countries.” In preparation for the Handbook of Experimental Development Economics, edited by Utteeyo Dasgupta and Pushkar Maitra. Edward Elgar. August 2022. PDF.



Proud to belong: The impact of ethics training on police officers,” with D. Harris (University of Oxford), O. Borcan (U of East Anglia), H. Telli (International Growth Center), Bruno Schettini (Brazil Ministry of the Economy), and S. Dercon (University of Oxford). CSAE working paper. PDF, June 2022.


·        Probable Causation podcast Episode 73 (June 7, 2022)

·        Center for the Studies of African Economies (CSAE) podcast

·        The Takeaway Policy Brief, Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy.



Gender and leadership in organizations: The threat of backlash” with P. Chakraborty (Centenary College). First draft: 2018. Revised: June 2022. PDF.

·        Online Appendix with the instructions of the lab and online experiments.

·        Previous drafts circulated under the titles “Gender differences in top leadership roles: Does worker backlash matter?” and “Gender and leadership in organizations: Promotions, demotions and angry workers”]



“Influencing youths’ educational aspirations and gender attitudes through role models: Evidence from Somali schools” with E. K. Kipchumba (BRAC), C. Porter (Lancaster University) and M. Sulaiman (BRAC). February 2021. PDF. New draft coming soon.


·        VoxDev Talk with Munshi Sulaiman

·        The Takeaway Policy Brief, Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy.







Mobilizing parents at home and at school: An experiment on primary education in Angolawith V. Di Maio (World Bank), S. Leeffers (Nova University of Lisbon) and P. Vicente (Nova University of Lisbon). Novafrica working paper 2002, February 2020. Accepted. Economic Development and Cultural Change. PDF.

·        Project website; GlobaDev Blog post



Health Workers’ Behavior, Patient Reporting and Reputational Concerns: Lab-in-the-Field Experimental Evidence from Kenya with I. Mbiti (U of Virginia). Experimental Economics, 25.2 (2022): 514-556. Ungated: PDF.

·        Instructions of the lab-in-the-field experiment here.



Corrupt Police” with K. Abbink (Monash University) and D. Ryvkin (FSU). Games and Economic Behavior, 123: 101-119, September 2020. Ungated PDF.



“Gender Differences in the Choice of Major: The Importance of Female Role Models” with C. Porter (Lancaster University). American Economic Journal: Applied, 12(3): 226–254. PDF. Ungated here.

·        Media Coverage: Dow Jones Moneyish, Pacific Standard, The University Network, Forbes.

·        Read about the study in the new CEPR eBook on Women and Economics.

·        Read an early summary of the study: SMU Press release.

·        Watch a short video of me talking about the study.



Motivating Whistleblowers” with J. Butler (UC Merced) and G. Spagnolo (SITE, Stockholm School of Economics). Management Science 66.2: 605-621, 2020. Available here. Ungated here: PDF.



Corruption and competition among bureaucrats: An experimental study”, with D. Ryvkin (FSU).  Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Vol. 175, July 2020, pp 439-451. PDF. Experimental instructions here.



Is more competition always better? An experimental study of extortionary corruption”, with D. Ryvkin (FSU). Economic Inquiry, 57 (1), January 2019: 50-72. PDF.



 Corruption, Social Judgment and Culture: An Experiment”, with T. Salmon (SMU). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 142: 64-78, 2017. PDF.



I paid a bribe: An experiment on information sharing and extortionary corruption”, with D. Ryvkin (FSU) and James Tremewan (U of Vienna). European Economic Review, 94: 1-22, 2017. PDF



Participatory accountability and collective action: Experimental evidence from Albania”, with A. Barr (U of Nottingham) and T. Packard (The World Bank). European Economic Review, 68: 250–269, 2014. PDF



Intermediaries in corruption: An experiment”, with M. Drugov (Carlos III de Madrid) and J. Hamman (FSU). Experimental Economics, 17(1): 78-99, 2014. PDF.

·          Winner of the Editor’s prize for the best paper published in Experimental Economics in the year 2014.



Combining top-down and bottom-up accountability: Evidence from a bribery experiment”. Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, 28(3): 569-587, August 2012. Online advance access here.



Anti-corruption Policies: Lessons from the Lab”, with K. Abbink. In D. Serra and L. Wantchekon (eds.) New Advances in Experimental Research on Corruption, Research In Experimental Economics Volume 15, Bingly: Emerald Group Publishing, June 2012.



Intrinsic motivations and the non-profit health sector: Evidence from Ethiopia”, with P. Serneels (UEA) and A. Barr (U of Nottingham) Personality and Individual Differences, 51(3): 309-314. PDF.



How corruptible are you? Bribery under uncertainty”, with D. Ryvkin (FSU), Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 81(2012): 466-477. PDF.



Corruption and Culture: An experimental Analysis, with A. Barr (U of Nottingham), Journal of Public Economics, 94, Issues 11-12, December 2010. PDF .



The effects of externalities and framing on bribery in a petty corruption experiment”, with A. Barr (U of Nottingham), Experimental Economics, 12 (4): 488-503, 2009. PDF.



Discovering the Real World –Health Workers’ Career Choices and Early Work Experience in Ethiopia, with P. Serneels (UEA) and M. Lindelow (World Bank), The World Bank, Washington DC.



Pre-doctoral Publications


Empirical Determinants of Corruption: A sensitivity Analysis,” Public Choice 126 (1-2), 225-256, 2006. PDF.


This is based on my undergraduate thesis at Bocconi University, under the supervision of Guido Tabellini and Eliana La Ferrara.



“The twin effects of globalization: Evidence from a sample of Indian manufacturing firms,” with F. Daveri and P. Manasse, Rivista of Politica Economica, 2010: 223-254.


I worked on this project as a pre-doctoral Research Assistant. I still remember the shock and happiness I experienced when Francesco and Paolo asked me to be a coauthor on the paper.






New Advances in Experimental Research on Corruption, edited with Leonard Wantchekon (Princeton University), Emerald Group Publishing, June 2012.








The long term impact of childhood abduction trauma on the preferences, attitudes and psychological well-being of women in Northern Uganda with A. Cassar (University of San Francisco), Eeshani Kandpal (The World Bank), Miranda Lambert (Texas A&M University) and Christine Mbabazi (Makerere University).

·       Pre-registration: AER Registry.



“Recruiting Economics Majors: The Impact of an Information Campaign Targeted at High School Counselors” with J. Meer (Texas A&M University).

·       Pre-registration: AER Registry.



“Improving the college experience: An encouragement experiment” with Catherine Porter (Lancaster University) and Daniel Gomez Vasquez (Texas A&M University).

·       Pre-registration: AER Registry



“Women’s leadership in VSLAs” (working title), with Kjetil Bjorvatn (Norwegian School of Economics), Shymal Chowdhury (University of Sydney), Catalina Franco (Norwegian School of Economics), and Munshi Sulaiman (BRAC).



“Can different communication methods decrease gender bias in the workplace?” (working title), with T. Salmon (Southern Methodist University). 



“Dismantling gender stereotypes in STEM careers among adolescents and their parents: Experimental evidence from Peruvian schools” with Marcos Agurto (Universidad de Piura) and S. Sudipta (Virginia Tech University).







“Information, beliefs and anti-corruption activism: An Experiment” with F. Afridi (Indian Statistical Institute), A. Basistha (Indian Statistical Institute) and A. Dhillon (King’s College).

·       Pre-registration: AsPredicted.



“Do Crises Affect Citizen Activism? Evidence from a Pandemic” with F. Afridi (Indian Statistical Institute), A. Basistha (Indian Statistical Institute) and A. Dhillon (King’s College)



“Who self-selects into committees: The pro-social or the corrupt?” with A. Cao (TAMU) and D. Ryvkin (FSU). In the lab.

·       Pre-registration: AsPredicted.













Updated January 2023



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