Leonardo Bursztyn

Profile photo of Leonardo Bursztyn

Assistant Professor of Economics

Areas of Expertise

  • Applied Microeconomics
  • Development Economics
  • Political Economy




Assistant Professor Leonardo Bursztyn joined the Global Economics and Management group at UCLA Anderson School of Management in 2010. Bursztyn’s research interests include political economy and development economics. His primary topic of research is the analysis of how individuals’ main economic decisions are shaped by their social environments. “Individuals make decisions within their household, students make decisions within their classroom, investors make financial decisions within their circle of friends,” says Bursztyn. “I study not only whether one’s social environment shapes one’s decisions, but also why one’s social environment matters.” Bursztyn’s work has examined educational, political, financial and consumption decisions, both in developing and developed countries.

His research has been published or is forthcoming in leading academic journals such as Econometrica, the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics and the Journal of Political Economy. Prior to joining UCLA Anderson School of Management, Bursztyn received his Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University in 2010.

In the classroom, Professor Bursztyn teaches UCLA Anderson’s core Managerial Economics course. He has also taught Ph.D. students and undergraduates. Beyond his work at Anderson, he is a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and is an affiliate at the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development, the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA).



Ph.D. Economics, Harvard University, 2010

M.Sc. Economics, University of Brasilia, 2005

B.A. Economics, University of Brasilia, 2003


Published Papers

Poverty and the Political Economy of Public Education Spending: Evidence from Brazil. Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming.

A Tear in the Iron Curtain: The Impact of Western Television on Consumption Behavior (with Davide Cantoni). Review of Economics and Statistics, 98(1): 25-41 (2016).
Supplemental Appendix to the paper

How Does Peer Pressure Affect Educational Investments? (with Robert Jensen). Quarterly Journal of Economics, 130(3): 1329-1367 (2015).
Supplemental Appendix to the paper

Understanding Mechanisms Underlying Peer Effects: Evidence from a Field Experiment on Financial Decisions (with Florian Ederer, Bruno Ferman, and Noam Yuchtman). Econometrica, 82(4): 1273-1301 (2014).
Supplemental Appendix to the paper

The Schooling Decision: Family Preferences, Intergenerational Conflict, and Moral Hazard in the Brazilian Favelas (with Lucas C. Coffman). Journal of Political Economy, 120(3): 359-397 (2012) (lead article).
Supplemental Appendix to the paper

The Environment and Directed Technical Change (with Daron Acemoglu, Philippe Aghion, and David Hemous). American Economic Review, 102(1): 131–166 (2012).
Supplemental Appendix to the paper

Preserving the Environment (with Philippe Aghion and Peter Howitt). In Aghion, P. and P. Howitt, The Economics of Growth, MIT Press (2008)


Working papers

Identifying Ideology: Experimental Evidence on Anti-Americanism in Pakistan (with Michael Callen, Bruno Ferman, Saad Gulzar, Ali Hasanain, and Noam Yuchtman).

Moral Incentives: Experimental Evidence from Repayments of an Islamic Credit Card (with Stefano Fiorin, Daniel Gottlieb, and Martin Kanz).