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



Research Summary



Adopt a Paper

About Me



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



·       PhD in Economics, University of Oxford;

·       MSc in Economics, London School of Economics;

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



·       J-PAL: Faculty Affiliate.

·       IZA: Research Fellow.

·       EGAP: Research Member.

·       Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics, and Public Policy: Research Fellow.



Editorial Boards:

·       2021 -         Co-editor, Economic Inquiry.

·       2020 - 2023   Associate Editor, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.








“My Department Cares: Supporting Students through Encouragement Emails” with D. Gomez-Vasquez (Texas A&M University). Coming soon. Email for a preliminary draft.

·       Pre-registration: AER Registry



Proud to belong: The impact of ethics training on police officers in Ghana” 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. First draft: June 2022. New draft (2024): IZA working paper and CEPR discussion paper .


·        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.



*NEW* “Activating change: The role of information and beliefs in social activism” with F. Afridi (Indian Statistical Institute), A. Basistha (Indian Statistical Institute) and A. Dhillon (King’s College). New draft (March 2024).

·       Pre-registration: AsPredicted.



“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. Link to paper. New draft coming soon.


·        VoxDev Talk with Munshi Sulaiman

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

·       Supported by the Spencer Foundation.



*NEW* “Can 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). CAGE Working paper, November 2023. Link to paper.



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









Gender and leadership in organizations: The threat of backlash” with P. Chakraborty (Centenary College). Forthcoming, the Economic Journal. Link to paper.

·        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”]




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). Forthcoming, Economic Development and Cultural Change. PDF.

Project website; GlobaDev Blog post




“Can high school counselors help the economics pipeline?” with Melissa Gentry (Texas A&M) and Jonathan Meer (Texas A&M). American Economic Association P&P 113: 462-66.  Link to paper.

·        Presented at ASSA 2023: slides

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




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.




“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.



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



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



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








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





  Gender & Development


The long term impact of childhood abduction: Evidence from women in Northern Uganda with A. Cassar (University of San Francisco), E. Kandpal (Center for Global Development), M. Lambert (Texas A&M University) and C. Mbabazi (Makerere University).

·       Supported by The World Bank.

·       Pre-registration: AER Registry.



“Women’s leadership in VSLAs” (working title), with K. Bjorvatn (Norwegian School of Economics), S. Chowdhury (University of Sydney), C. Franco (Norwegian School of Economics), and M. Sulaiman (BRAC).

·       Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

·       Pre-registration: AER Registry.



“From Jobs to Careers: Lifting Constraints to Women’s Career Advancement in South Asia” with R. Robertson (Texas A&M University), F. Afridi (ISI Delhi), Hamna Ahmed (Lahore School of Economics).

·       Supported by the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) G2LM program.

·       Project description



“Healing Beyond Trauma: Assessing the Efficacy of Cash, Coaching and Counseling Programs for victimized women in Northern Uganda” (working title) with A. Cassar (University of San Francisco), E. Kandpal (Center for Global Development), M. Lambert (Texas A&M University) and C. Mbabazi (Makerere University).

·       Supported by The World Bank and the center for Global Development (CGD).



“Inclusive Growth in the Green Economy” with R. Robertson (TAMU Bush School) and H. Ahmad (Lahore School of Economics).

·       Supported by the US State Department.



Economics of Education


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

·       Supported by the CSWEP-SSRC Women in Economics and Mathematics Research Consortium.

·       Pre-registration: AER Registry.



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

·       Supported by the Consorcio de Investigation Economica y Social, Peru.

·       Pre-registration: AER Registry



“Unlocking Opportunities: Facilitating Student Transfers from 2- to 4-Year Colleges through Coaching” with Celeste Carruthers (U Tennessee), Ishara Casellas Connors (Texas A&M) and Kalena Cortes (Texas A&M).

·       Currently fundraising




Other Projects on Biases in the Workplace (in the US)



“Reaching for the stars? An experiment on discrimination in hiring” with D. Gomez-Vasquez (Texas A&M University) and T. Salmon (Southern Methodist University).

·       Pre-registration: AsPredicted.



 “Can different modes of communication affect gender bias in the workplace?” (working title), with D. Gomez-Vasquez (Texas A&M University), M. Lambert (Texas A&M University) and T. Salmon (Southern Methodist University).

·       Pre-registration: AsPredicted.



“The impact of high-quality research feedback on the academic success of junior scholars” with E. Kuka (George Washington University).

·       Supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation.

·       Pre-registration: AsPredicted.



Political Economy


“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 December 2023



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