The aim of Felipe Barrera-Osorio's research is to determine how different educational incentives impact the learning outcomes of primary- and secondary school-aged children in different contexts and levels of education development. He uses identification methods to find causal effects of educational programs in a large array of outcomes. Barrera-Osorio is currently evaluating several interventions that use random assignment, regression discontinuity designs, difference-in-difference, and instrumental variables approaches. His research extends across countries on three continents: Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Current projects include interventions that provide students and families incentives to encourage the students to attend and perform better in school. Examples of such interventions include conditional cash transfers (Bogota, Colombia and Sindh, Pakistan); reductions in user fees (Bogota, Colombia); scholarships (Cambodia), and reductions in commute times (Sindh, Pakistan). Other projects aim to change the behavior of teachers and principals.
Examples of these interventions include: teacher incentive programs (Punjab, Pakistan); strong accountability systems (Punjab, Pakistan); private provision of public education (Uganda and Pakistan), and information to teachers on pedagogy (Uganda).Felipe Barrera-Osorio holds a Ph.D in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park, U.S.A. and a B.A. in Economics from Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia.
Between 2004 and 2006, He was the Deputy Director of the Colombian think-tank Fedesarrollo. Barrera-Osorio moved to the United States in 2006 to work as a senior economist at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. Since 2011, he has been an assistant professor of education and economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Barrera-Osorio is part of the policy committee of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and affiliated with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard. Since 2007 he has been part of the executive committee of LACEA's Impact Evaluation Network, which he helped to create. In 2008, Barrera-Osorio was awarded the Juan Luis Londoño Medal for research in education. The recognition is given every other year to a Colombian economist under the age of 40.