Michael Callen


Contact Information

Rady School of Management
Wells Fargo Hall, Room 4W104
9500 Gilman Drive #0553
La Jolla, CA 92093-0553
Phone: ­(858) 822-7455
Fax: ­
Email: mjcallen@ucsd.edu

Research Areas

Development Economics
Political Economy
Experimental Economics


Assistant Professor of Economics and Strategic Management

Michael Callen research uses experiments to identify ways to address accountability and service delivery failures in the public sector, working primarily in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. His primary interests are political economy, development economics, and experimental economics.

Before coming to the Rady School, Callen was an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. As a post doc, Callen was a visiting faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley Center for Effective Global Action and the UC San Diego Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation.

Callen has received research grants from the International Growth Center (IGC), South Asia Institute, Harvard University, Department for International Development, Consortium for Financial Systems and Poverty, Policy Design and Evaluation Laboratory, Center for Effective Global Action and the Development Innovation Lab (UC Berkeley). He also won the Innovate Award from the Development Innovation Lab from UC Berkeley.

Callen earned his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, San Diego and his B.Sc. in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


Improving Electoral Integrity with Information and Communications Technology. (with Clark Gibson, Danielle F. Jung, and James D. Long), Journal of Experimental Political Science, 2016, 3 (1), pp.4-17

Pooling Risk Among Countries. (with Jean Imbs and Paolo Mauro), Journal of International Economics, 2015, 96 (1), pp. 88-99.

Catastrophes and Time Preference: Evidence from the Indian Ocean Earthquake. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2015, 118, pp. 199-214.

Promises and Pitfalls of Mobile Money in Afghanistan: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial. (with Blumenstock, J.E., Callen, M., Ghani, T., Koepke, L.,) in: Proceedings of the Fifth ACM/IEEE International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development, ICTD 2015. Association for Computing Machinery

Institutional Corruption and Election Fraud: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan. (with James D. Long), American Economic Review, 2015, 105 (1), pp.354-381

Violent Trauma and Risk Preference: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan. (with Mohammad Isaqzadeh, James D. Long, and Charles Sprenger). American Economic Review, 2014, 104 (1), pp.123 -148

Violence, Control and Election Fraud: Evidence from Afghanistan. (with Nils B. Weidmann). British Journal of Political Science, 2013, 43 (1), pp. 53 - 75

Do Working Men Rebel: Insurgency and Unemployment in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines. (with Eli Berman, Joseph H. Felter, and Jacob N. Shapiro). Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2011, 55(4), pp. 496 - 528

Works in Progress

What are the Headwaters of Formal Savings? Experimental Evidence from Sri Lanka. (with Suresh de Mel, Craig McIntosh, and Christopher Woodruff) Revise and Resubmit. Review of Economic Studies

Political Identity: Experimental Evidence on Anti-Americanism in Pakistan. (with Leonardo Bursztyn, Bruno Ferman, Ali Hasanain, and Noam Yuchtman)

Elections and Government Legitimacy in Afghanistan. (with Eli Berman, Clark Gibson, and James D. Long)

The Political Economy of Public Employee Absence: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan. (with Saad Gulzar, Ali Hasanain, and Yasir Khan)

Personalities and Public Employee Performance: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan. (with Saad Gulzar, Ali Hasanain, Yasir Khan, and Arman Rezaee)

Violence and Financial Decisions: Evidence from Mobile Money in Afghanistan. (with Joshua Blumenstock and Tarek Ghani)

Mobile-izing Savings with Automatic Contributions: Experimental Evidence on Dynamic Inconsistency and the Default Effect in Afghanistan. (with Joshua Blumenstock and Tarek Ghani)

Using Preference Estimates to Customize Incentives: An Application to Polio Vaccination Drives in Pakistan. (with James Andreoni, Karrar Jaffar, Yasir Khan, and Charles Sprenger)