New Faculty Member Jie Bai Discusses her Academic Work and Outside Passions

July 17, 2017
By Doug Gavel

Jie Bai is joining the Harvard Kennedy School faculty as Assistant Professor in Public Policy, affiliated with the Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) program. Jie’s research focuses on microeconomic issues of firms in developing countries and emerging markets, particularly to understand the role of private enterprise in economic development, the challenges and barriers firms face, and how government policies can interact with various market frictions to affect business growth.

 

Q: Please tell us about the primary focus of your academic work.

Bai: My research focuses on microeconomic issues of firms in developing countries and emerging markets. My recent projects have examined firms’ incentive and ability to build a reputation for quality, the relationship between economic growth and corruption, and the impact of internal trade barriers among Chinese provinces on resource misallocation, firm performance and export activities. Other ongoing work includes studying firms’ quality upgrading dynamics, reputational forces in export markets and the role played by business networks.

 

Q: What brings you to Harvard Kennedy School?

Bai: As a development economist, I am really excited to become a member of this great community. The school not only exposes faculties and students to issues that are at the center of international debates, but also present great opportunities to engage in deep conversations with policy makers around the world. 

Another aspect that really draws me to HKS is the student population, which is so unique, diverse and vibrant. I served as guest lecture in PED-102 earlier in the spring, and had truly enjoyed the one-hour discussion with the MPA/ID students. They were all so passionate to learn and eager to share their experiences and thoughts. The classroom became a mutual learning environment. It makes me feel that what I teach could have a real impact on the world as these students move on to the next stage of their career.

 

Q: How will your affiliation with EPoD help you to further your research?

Bai: The infrastructure to conduct research in developing countries is amazing at EPoD. There is great support from the teams in the field, and also amazing support from the staff members in terms of project assessment, grant applications, and various levels of research assistance. EPoD also provides faculties with valuable opportunities to connect with government officials around the world to identify earnest policy issues and design effective policy interventions.

 

Q: What courses will you be teaching at HKS?

Bai: In my first year, I will be teaching API-110 (Spring of 2018). I would also like to think about designing an elective course on firms in developing countries in the future.

 

Q: Outside of your academic work, what are the things you are most passionate about?

Bai: Outside of work, I am usually on a badminton court (trying to up my beginner’s game), or in a small coffee shop (reading anything from history of western philosophy to the three-body problem). I also enjoy traveling to historic towns and getting to know people along the way.

Jie Bai

Jie Bai, Assistant Professor in Public Policy, affiliated with the Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) program.

 


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