Niaz Asadullah received his masters and doctoral degrees in Economics from Oxford University. Currently he is a Professor in the Faculty of Economics, Malaya University, Kuala Lumpur. He has previously held positions at Reading, Manchester, Oxford, Kent, BRAC and Dhaka Universities.

His research interests include development economics, economics of education, labor economics and happiness economics. Current research draws upon data from South and Southeast Asia and focuses on female workforce participation; social norms (early marriage, purdah practice etc) and women's well-being; impact of poverty programs; life satisfaction and well-being in old-age; determinants of cognitive skills; social impact of Islamic faith schools (aka madrasahs); the rise of private schools in South Asia. His research has been supported by grants from AUSAID, Leverhulme Trust, International Growth Centre (IGC), South Asian Network of Economic Research Institutes (SANEI) and the World Bank.

Niaz is a co-editor of the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities and is on the international advisory board of COMPARE.

He joined IZA as a Research Fellow in September 2007.



IZA Discussion Paper No. 11362
Niaz Asadullah, Maliki

Using a nationally representative data set of Indonesian households and villages, we study the determinants of enrolment in Islamic schools (i.e., madrasahs) and private non-religious vis-à-vis public non-religious schools. Multinomial logit estimates indicate that madrasahs systematically attract children from poorer households, rural locations, and less educated parents while the...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10624
Sor Tho Ng, Nai Peng Tey, Niaz Asadullah
published in: PLOS One, 2017, 12(2): e0171799

This study investigates the determinants of life satisfaction among the oldest-old (i.e. individuals aged 80 or over) in China. We use the 2011/2012 Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey data (n = 6530) for this paper. Logistic regression is used to analyse the effects of socio-demographic, economic, health, instrumental activities of...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10463

Despite significant improvement in female schooling over the last two decades, only a small proportion of women in South Asia are in wage employment. We revisit this puzzle using a nationally representative data set from Bangladesh. Probit regression results show that even after accounting for human capital endowments, women are...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10326
published in: Australian Economic Review, 2016, 49(4), 432-452

Non-formal schools play an increasingly important role in the delivery of educational services in poor communities, but little systematic evidence is available about their placement choices. We study location choice of "one teacher, one classroom" non-formal primary schools pioneered by BRAC vis-a-vis its first large scale replication under the government...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10176
published in: Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2017, 41(2): 515-544.

This study presents new evidence on individual and community-specific determinants of social trust using data from 96 villages in Bangladesh. We find perceived institutional trust to be positively correlated with stated inter-personal trust. At the same time, there is significant social distance among various faith groups in our data: both...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9749
Niaz Asadullah, Jinnat Ara
published in: Applied Economics, 2016, 58 (2), 107-120

Using a four-round panel data set from the first phase of the Challenging the Frontiers of Poverty Reduction – Targeting the Ultra Poor (CFPR – TUP) programme of BRAC, we investigate whether a one-off transfer of livestock assets improves well-being of the very poor women in Bangladesh. Programme impact is...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9637
forthcoming in: China Economic Review

We use data from two rounds of the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) to study the determinants of subjective well-being in China over the period 2005-2010 during which self-reported happiness scores show an increase across all income groups. Ordered probit regression analysis of well-being reveals large influence of gender, rural...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 8233
published in: Singapore Economic Review, 2016, 61(4), pages 1550052-01

Using unique survey data on rural secondary school children, this paper evaluates the relative quality of Islamic secondary schools (i.e. madrasahs) in Bangladesh. Students attending registered madrasahs fare worse in maths and English than students attending non-madrasah schools. However, failure to account for non-random sorting over-estimates the negative influence of...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 7115
published in: Journal of Development Studies, 2013, 49 (2), 223-237

BRAC, a non-governmental organization (NGO), runs a large number of non-formal primary schools in Bangladesh which target out-of-school children from poor families. These schools are well-known for their effectiveness in closing gender gap in primary school enrolment. On the other hand, registered non-government secondary madrasas (or Islamic schools) today enrol...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 7059

This paper looks at the determinants of secondary school attendance in Bangladesh with a focus on the interaction between community gender norms and relative supply of madrasas (i.e. Islamic schools). We present a theoretical framework where the probability of children's school participation varies with respect to a non-economic factor –...