Faculty

Berkeley Center for Economics and Politics

First-Person

Ernesto Dal Bo

Ernesto Dal Bó

co-director of the Berkeley Center for Economics & Politics and the Phillips Girgich Professor in Business at the Haas School of Business and the Travers Department of Political Science.

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Ernesto Dal Bó is co-director of the Berkeley Center for Economics & Politics and the Phillips Girgich Professor in Business at the Haas School of Business and the Travers Department of Political Science.

Over the past decade, Dal Bó has published extensive research on the political, economic, and behavioral factors that affect governance, government integrity, and state capabilities.

He is the author or co-author of widely-cited studies on corruption and coercion in government, political dynasties in the U.S. Congress, decision-making in spoils-based political systems, the potential for sudden increases in wealth to fuel social conflict, and the impact of moral beliefs and self-esteem on the integrity of civil servants.

His research increasingly attracts the interest and active collaboration of governments around the world:

  • In July 2014, top public officials from India travelled to Berkeley for executive seminars on strategies to reduce corruption. The sessions culminated in a workshop in which officials brainstormed about problems they themselves were fighting.
  • In Mexico, the government helped organize a controlled experiment on whether higher salary offers would in fact attract a higher quality of civil service job applicants.
  • In Paraguay, the government is partnering with researchers on a study of whether GPS locational monitoring can improve the performance of far-flung agricultural extension agents.

A common goal in Dal Bó's work is to identify strategies for strengthening the integrity and effectiveness of public institutions. Among many other topics, his papers have explored the impact of moral suasion to "do the right thing;" the impact of term length on elected politicians; the use of coercion in political influence and its consequences for the quality of politicians.

A native of Argentina, Dal Bó earned his undergraduate and master's degrees in economics at the University of Buenos Aires. He completed his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Oxford. He joined the University of California, Berkeley in 2003 and became co-director of the Berkeley Center for Economics & Politics in 2010.

An award-winning teacher, Dal Bó has also been in the faculty at Stanford University. He is a faculty research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a member of the American Economic Association, the European Economic Association and the Latin American Economic Association.

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