Benjamin A. Olken is the Jane Berkowitz Carlton and Dennis William Carlton Professor of Microeconomics at MIT. His research focuses on development economics, with a particular interest in improving the performance of the public sector in developing countries, including social protection programs, taxation, and quality of governance, and on environmental challenges in developing countries.
He is a faculty Director of J-PAL, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT, Co-Scientific Director of J-PAL's Southeast Asia office, and Co-Chair of the J-PAL's Social Protection Initiative. He is Editor of American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, and co-Director the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Development Economics Program.
Olken received his BA summa cum laude as a double-major in Mathematics and Ethics, Politics, and Economics from Yale University in 1997, and his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University in 2004. In 1997-1998 he was a Henry Luce Scholar, living in Jakarta, Indonesia.