Associate Professor of International Affairs

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Website

Dr. Laura Zimmermann is an Associate Professor in the Department of International Affairs and the Department of Economics at the University of Georgia. Additionally, she serves as the APRIES (African Programming & Research Initiative to End Slavery) Labor Economist and International Migration Expert at UGA’s Center on Human Trafficking Research & Outreach (CenHTRO) and is a member of the Global Young Academy (GYA), where she leads the Science Advice Working Group. She holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) from the University of Oxford and an MA and PhD in Economics from the University of Michigan.

  • Ph.D, University of Michigan, Economics, 2014
  • MA, University of Michigan, Economics, 2010
  • BA, University of Oxford, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE), 2008
Areas of Expertise
  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Behavior
  • Politics of the Developing World
  • Political Economy
  • Public Policy Process, Implementation and Evaluation
Honors, Awards, and Achievements
  • University of Georgia Teaching Academy Fellows Program (TAFP) (2018-2019)
  • Swift Award for Outstanding Teaching in Undergraduate Economics, University of Georgia (2018)
  • Terry College of Business Outstanding Teacher, University of Georgia (2019)
  • University of Georgia Career Center Career Development Recognition: identified by at least one graduate in the Class of a given year as a person who has had a significant positive impact on their career development and success (2016, 2018, 2020, 2021)
  • University of Georgia Thank-a-Teacher Program Recognition: allows students and alumni to express appreciation for teachers who have impacted their lives in profound and meaningful ways (2020, 2021)
Course Instruction
  • INTL 4320 Politics of Development
  • INTL 8340 Developing Political Systems
  • INTL 8360 Government and Business
Research Interests

Dr. Zimmermann’s work focuses on two areas: Studying the economic and political impacts of large government policies in developing countries to generate a holistic picture of how anti-poverty efforts can be made more effective and understanding how households deal with economic shocks, particularly with respect to job opportunities, labor trafficking as well as the allocation of resources to women and girls. Most of her work is at the intersection of economics and political science but also overlaps with other social science disciplines like social work. Her work has been published in top general interest and field journals in economics and in the leading interdisciplinary development outlets.

Dr. Zimmermann has evaluated the effectiveness of many of India’s most important government policies. These include determining the impacts of the world’s largest anti-poverty program, the Indian Government’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), on labor market outcomes, political competition and elections, insurgency-related violence, and corruption; analyzing the benefits of girl child conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs that seek to combat son preference by paying parents for investing in their daughters; and estimating the effects of India’s switch from a sales tax to Value-Added Tax regime on tax revenue and firm sales, one of the most ambitious tax reforms in history. In addition to her work on India, Laura’s current research also focuses on improving the measurement and combat of labor trafficking in Malawi and Zambia.

Selected Publications

De Jure versus De Facto Transparency: Corruption in Local Public Office in India (with Dahjeon Jeong, Ajay Shenoy), Journal of Public Economics, 221: 104855, 2023

The Dynamic Electoral Returns of a Large Anti-Poverty Program, Review of Economics and Statistics, 103(5): 803-817, 2021

Remember When It Rained: Schooling Responses to Shocks in India, World Development, 126, 2020

It’s a Boy! Women and Non-Monetary Benefits from a Son in India, World Development, 104: 326-335, 2018

Guns and Butter? Fighting Violence with the Promise of Development (with Gaurav Khanna), Journal of Development Economics, 124: 120-141, 2017

Reconsidering Gender Bias in Intra-Household Allocation in India, Journal of Development Studies, 48(1): 151-163, 2012