Felipe Barrera-Osorio

Research Fellow

Vanderbilt University

Felipe Barrera-Osorio is an Associate Professor of Public Policy, Education, and Economics at the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanderbilt University.
The aim of Felipe Barrera-Osorio's research is to determine how different educational incentives impact the learning outcomes of primary- and secondary school-aged children in different contexts and levels of education development. He uses identification methods to find causal effects of educational programs in a large array of outcomes. His research extends across countries on three continents: Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Barrera-Osorio's research is centered on two main policy areas. Firstly, interventions that aim to encourage investments in education among families and students, and secondly, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) policies in low- and middle-income countries. The focus of the first area is on demand-side interventions that reduce the cost of education and provide information about its returns and quality, with an emphasis on expanding the research beyond enrollment and achievement indicators by including research on socioemotional skills and labor market outcomes. In the second area, Barrera-Osorio evaluates the designs of publicly-funded, privately-provided education programs (PPP), which have become increasingly prevalent as governments utilize private schools to deliver publicly-funded education. Barrera-Osorio's research explores the effectiveness of PPP arrangements through the lens of contract theory and asymmetrical information.
Felipe Barrera-Osorio holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park, U.S.A. and a B.A. in Economics from Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia. Between 2004 and 2006, he was the Deputy Director of the Colombian think-tank Fedesarrollo. Barrera-Osorio moved to the United States in 2006 to work as a senior economist at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. Between 2011 and 2020 he was Assistant and, later, Associate Professor of Education and Economics at the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University. Since July 2020, he joined the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanderbilt University as an Associate Professor of Public Policy, Education, and Economics, with a secondary appointment (by courtesy) at the Department of Economics. Since 2007 he has been part of the executive committee of LACEA's Impact Evaluation Network, which he helped to create. In 2008, Barrera-Osorio was awarded the Juan Luis Londoño Medal for research in education. The recognition is given every other year to a Colombian economist under the age of 40.

Felipe Barrera-Osorio joined IZA as a Research Fellow in April 2023.