David E. Sahn

Research Fellow

Cornell University

David E. Sahn is an International Professor of Economics in the Division of Nutritional Sciences and the Department of Economics at Cornell University. From 2011–2013, he was also a Professor, holding the Chaire d’Excellence at Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International (CERDI), l’Université d’Auvergne, France. He has a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Michigan. His main academic interest is in identifying the solutions to poverty, malnutrition, and disease in developing countries, as well as the determinants of human capital and the role of education and skills in labor market and other social outcomes. In addition to teaching and mentoring of graduate students, he devotes considerable efforts to training and capacity building of research institutions in Africa and working with government officials and international organizations to integrate research findings into policy. Before coming to Cornell in 1988, Professor Sahn was an Economist at the World Bank, and prior to that, a Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the International Monetary Fund, a visiting Distinguished Professor at l'Université d'Auvergne, visiting researcher at both the Département et Laboratoire d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, École Normale Superieure (DELTA) and Laboratoire d'Économie Appliquée de Paris, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris, and a Visiting Professor at Kenyatta University in Nairobi. He has also worked extensively with numerous international organizations, such as the Hewlett Foundation, the African Development Bank, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and several UN agencies such as UNICEF, the UN Development Program, the Food and Agricultural Organization, the United Nations University, and the World Health Organization. He has also worked as a consultant for various governments in Asia, Africa, and transition economies in Eastern Europe.

He joined IZA as a Research Fellow in November 2014.



IZA Discussion Paper No. 10464

Women represent the majority of informal sector workers in developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where adolescent pregnancy rates are high. Little empirical evidence exists concerning the relationship between teen fertility and the likelihood that a woman will be employed in the informal sector. Using a panel survey in Madagascar...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10359

There is growing evidence that noncognitive skills affect economic, behavioral, and demographic outcomes in the developed world. However, little such evidence exists from developing countries. This paper estimates the joint effect of five specific personality traits and cognition on a sequence of labor market outcomes for a sample of Malagasy...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9362

Female secondary school attendance has recently increased in Sub-Saharan Africa and so has the risk of becoming pregnant while attending school. Using panel data in Madagascar, we analyze the impact of teenage pregnancy on young women's human capital. We instrument early pregnancy with the young woman's community-level access, and exposure...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 8876
published in: Economic Development and Cultural Change, 2016, 64 (2). 369-403

This paper examines the role of education and family background on age at marriage, age at first birth, and age at labor market entry for young Senegalese women. We use a multiple-equation framework that allows us to account for the endogeneity that arises from the simultaneity of the four decisions...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 8795
published in: Population Studies, 2015, 69 (2), 219-236

Low female schooling attainment, early marriage and low age at first birth are major policy concerns in developing countries. This paper jointly estimated the determinants of educational attainment, marriage age and age of first birth among females 12 to 25 years of age in Madagascar, explicitly accounting for the endogeneities...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 8731
forthcoming in: Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 2016

This paper measured the extent to which households in Madagascar adjust children's school attendance in order to cope with exogenous shocks to household income, assets and labour supply. Our analysis was based on a unique data set with 10 years of recall data on school attendance and household shocks. We...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 2511
updated version: visit SSRN

In this paper, we estimate a model of labor market dynamics among individuals in Romania using panel data for three years, 1994 to 1996. Our motivation is to gain insight into the functioning of the labor market and how workers are coping during this period of economic liberalization and transformation...