Uttara Balakrishnan

Senior Research Economist

Uttara Balakrishnan is a senior research economist at AIR with over ten years of experience designing, implementing, and reviewing complex and challenging mixed methods impact and performance evaluations and formative research in developing countries using quantitative and qualitative methods. She specializes in quantitative methods and has extensive expertise in econometric analysis, program evaluation, and causal inference using experimental and quasi-experimental research methods.

Dr. Balakrishnan has developed problem analyses and baseline assessments and evaluations in over nine developing countries, including Liberia, Georgia, Mozambique, and Kosovo, with a focus on identifying impacts, opportunities, strengths, challenges, barriers, potential future threats, and recommendations for programs in these regions, including how to expand trade and make agricultural value chains in these countries globally competitive. She has also overseen evaluation design, sampling, instrument development, field work, data analysis, and report writing for various donors and implementing partners including USDA, MCC, and Save the Children, and specializes in producing high quality reports with practical and feasible policy recommendations for future programming and assessments.

Dr. Balakrishnan has extensive experience conducting quantitative enumerator training, data collection, and stakeholder meetings in remote and challenging locations in these countries using participatory and innovative methods. Technical areas of focus include international education, agriculture and value chains, and early childhood development. Dr. Balakrishnan has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as World Development, Experimental Economics, Journal of Development Studies, and B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy.

Uttara Headshot

Ph.D., Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland; M.A., International Development Economics, Yale University; B.A., Economics, University of Delhi