Women In Economics / Cross-sector

Women in Economics: Eliana La Ferrara on Social Norms and Development

Eliana La Ferrara

September 27, 2023

Photo courtesy of Eliana La Ferrara

In This Episode

A functioning economy provides people with access to credit, insurance, and, among other things, investment opportunities. But what happens in poor communities where they are landless and have no wealth? Eliana La Ferrara says the social structure within those communities offers the collateral they need to make the economy work. La Ferrara is a Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and an award-winning economist whose work has helped us understand how the economics of the poor are deeply interwoven into the social fabric and norms of their communities. Journalist Rhoda Metcalfe sat down with La Ferrara to discuss her work in Africa, and how she came to focus on development issues that are often overlooked. The interview is part of the IMF series on extraordinary Women in Economics. Transcript

Eliana La Ferrara is a professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

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Bruce Edwards

International Monetary Fund

Bruce Edwards produces the IMF podcast program. He's an award-winning audio producer and journalist who's covered armed conflicts, social unrest, and natural disasters from all corners of the world. He believes economists have an important role in solving the world's problems and aspires to showcase their research in every IMF podcast.

Rhoda Metcalfe


Rhoda Metcalfe is an independent journalist and audio producer. Her reporting on the armed conflict in Colombia in the late 90s, as well as her work in Egypt, Turkey and South Africa has won several awards. She now produces podcasts and radio features from Washington DC and is a regular contributor to the IMF Podcast program.