Josh Merfeld

Josh Merfeld

KDI School and IZA

I am an assistant professor at the KDI School of Public Policy and Management in Sejong City, South Korea. I am also a Research Affiliate at IZA (Institute of Labor Economics) in Bonn, Germany.

My research and teaching interests include the microeconomics of development, applied microeconometrics, labor markets in developing countries, and poverty.

My current work focuses on three separate strands of literature: labor allocation, poverty, and methodologies to improve estimates of statistics of interest to economists and policymakers. Ongoing work studies how households allocate their labor in developing countries, with a particular focus on how market failures and the overall environment affect allocation decisions. I also have ongoing work studying poverty and the best ways to improve poverty estimates, whether across time or across space. Relatedly, in work with regular collaborators, we are studying the best options to estimate different statistics – including poverty and labor force statistics – in developing countries, where data infrastructure may not allow the types of methods used in developed countries. For example, we are studying whether small area estimation methods or machine learning methods – like XGBoost and other implementations of random forests – offer more accurate predictions of different outcomes and at different levels of aggregation.