Stanford economist awarded Guggenheim

This prestigious honor recognizes mid-career scholars, artists and scientists who have demonstrated a previous capacity for outstanding work and continue to show exceptional promise.

Dupas is a development economist whose research focuses on better understanding issues facing poor households in lower income countries. Her goal is to identify tools and policies to overcome these challenges and reduce global poverty.

During her fellowship , Dupas will explore the changing social, economic and political conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically focusing on two of Africa’s largest cities - Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire’s major urban center - where she will engage with local partners to gain a thorough understanding of issues they face in a region that is experiencing rapid change.

"The spatial distribution of individuals across rural and urban areas is rapidly changing in sub-Saharan Africa," said Dupas, an associate professor of economics and a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

It is estimated that 40 percent of the African population now lives in urban areas, and urban dwellers are projected to double in just 20 years, she said.

"Policymakers thus face a critical question: What policies can ensure that urbanization unlocks a process of sustainable economic growth that lifts millions out of poverty? How to ensure these policies are implemented effectively?" Dupas said.

Dupas hopes her analyses of the various factors that determine a community’s quality of life will inform academics and policymakers on opportunities as well as challenges in the region.

"The fellowship now provides me with the freedom to do just that, at this critical moment in my intellectual journey, and I am ecstatic about it," Dupas said.

This year, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded fellowships to a diverse group of 168 scholars, artists and scientists who were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants.

"I am very grateful that the Guggenheim Foundation is willing to take a bet on me but also very grateful for the support and inspiration I have received from mentors, colleagues, students, as well as my family throughout, which helped me get to this point," Dupas said.