Prof. La Ferrara’s research interest lies in the field of development economics, with a focus on the role of ethnicity, conflict, social norms, institutions and media. She has studied ethnic diversity, kin structure and social norms, and the effects of television on social outcomes. She has also investigated political constraints to development, with particular focus on violent conflict in Africa. Her work has been published in the American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Development Economics, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics and the Journal of the European Economic Association.
She earned her PhD in Economics from Harvard University in 1999 and went on to hold many honors and fellowships, such as: International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow of the Econometric Society, and Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). She is an Affiliate of J-PAL and the Director of the Laboratory for Effective Anti-poverty Policies (LEAP) at Bocconi. She has been President of the European Economic Association and of the Bureau for Research in the Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD). She is the recipient of the 2020 Birgit Grodal Award and of numerous grants, including two from the European Research Council (ERC). She serves on the editorial board of several journals and has also worked as consultant for the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.