Andrew Foster

George and Nancy Parker Professor of Economics
Andrew Foster

Andrew Foster came to Brown in 1998 and served as the PSTC director from 2011-2016. He is an empirical microeconomist working in the areas of population, development, and environmental economics. He is particularly interested in sources of long economic and social mobility in low income rural areas.

Foster has a longstanding interest in educational investment in India. His current project looks at the effect of risk on accumulated human capital given the presence of dynamic complementarities. The idea is that possible future environmental shocks that would make it impossible for a child to complete schooling importantly reduce the incentives for early investment—leading to low levels of early schooling even when conditions are favorable. 

He also has worked extensively on land use in India and around the world. In 2023, he published important work on the scale economies that arise from labor market transaction costs and returns to capacity in machine use. He is currently working on understanding the costs of cross-farm spillovers in input use that arise from a lack of coordination among neighboring farmers.

Foster serves as the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Development Economics, a leading field journal. 

Scholarly Interests

Development, Education, Empirical microeconomics, Environment, Fertility, Health, Households, Human capital, Institutions, Labor economics, Marriage

Affiliated Departments

Department of Economics

School of Public Health