School of Economics


profile image for Dr Zaki Wahhaj

Dr Zaki Wahhaj

Senior Lecturer in Economics

School of Economics, Keynes College, B1.01



Zaki Wahhaj is Senior Lecturer in Economics. He obtained a BSc in Economics with Mathematics from Yale University, and a PhD in Economics from MIT. Following his PhD, he spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Research in Economic Development (CRED) at the University of Namur, Belgium and three years as lecturer in development economics at the Department of International Development (ODID), University of Oxford. He joined the University of Kent in 2012.

Zaki is the School's Non-Academic Impact Manager and PhD Placement Officer.

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Zaki's publications can also be found on RePEc, Orcid and ResearchGate.

Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Kazianga, H. and Wahhaj, Z. (2017). Intra-household Resource Allocation and Familial Ties. Journal of Development Economics [Online] 127:109-132. Available at:
Pal, S. and Wahhaj, Z. (2016). Fiscal Decentralisation, Local Institutions and Public Good Provision: Evidence from Indonesia. Journal of Comparative Economics [Online] 45:383-409. Available at:
Casini, P., Vandewalle, L. and Wahhaj, Z. (2015). Public Good Provision in Indian Rural Areas : The Returns to Collective Action by Microfinance Groups. World Bank Economic Review [Online] 1. Available at:
Platteau, J. and Wahhaj, Z. (2014). Strategic Interactions Between Modern Law and Custom. Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture [Online] 2:633-678. Available at:
Platteau, J., Somville, V. and Wahhaj, Z. (2014). Elite capture through information distortion: A theoretical essay. Journal of Development Economics [Online] 106:250-263. Available at:
Baland, J., Somanathan, R. and Wahhaj, Z. (2013). Repayment incentives and the distribution of gains from group lending. Journal of Development Economics [Online] 105:131-139. Available at:
Kazianga, H. and Wahhaj, Z. (2013). Gender, Social Norms, and Household Production in Burkina Faso. Economic Development and Cultural Change [Online] 61:539-576. Available at:
Ngo, T. and Wahhaj, Z. (2012). Microfinance and gender empowerment. Journal of Development Economics [Online] 99:1-12. Available at:
Ngo, T. and Wahhaj, Z. (2012). Microfinance and Gender Empowerment. Journal of Development Economics [Online] 99:1-12. Available at:
Aldashev, G. et al. (2012). Modern Law as a Magnet to Reform Custom. Economic Development and Cultural Change [Online]:795-828. Available at:
Aldashev, G., Platteau, J. and Wahhaj, Z. (2011). Colloquium Paper: Legal Reform in the Presence of a Living Custom: An Economic Approach. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [Online] 108:21320. Available at:
Wahhaj, Z. (2010). Social norms and individual savings in the context of informal insurance. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization [Online] 76:511-530. Available at:
Asadullah, M. and Wahhaj, Z. (2017). Early marriage, social networks and the transmission of norms. University of Manchester Global Development Institute. Available at:
Wahhaj, Z. (2015). A Theory of Child Marriage. University of Kent School of Economics. Available at:
Total publications in KAR: 14 [See all in KAR]


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Research interests

Zaki's main fields of research are economic development and applied theory. His current research deals, broadly, with the themes of social norms and household decision-making in developing countries, including work on extended family networks, risk-sharing and formal insurance, microfinance, the impact of formal law on customary practices and issues relating to early marriage and female education.

During the period 2013-16, Zaki was a Principal Investigator in a three-year research project on 'The Role of Secondary Schooling and Gender Norms in the Long-term Opportunities and Choices of Rural Bangladeshi Women', funded by the Australian Development Research Awards Scheme. Further information about the project can be obtained from

Since 2016, he is a Principal Investigator (together with Harounan Kazianga) on a project on 'Enhancing Access to Weather Index Agricultural Insurance in Burkina Faso', funded by the International Initiative on Impact Evaluation, in partnership with Innovations for Poverty Action.

Up-to-date information about his research can be obtained from his webpage.

Zaki's RePEc page is

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Consultation hours

  • Wed 15.00-16.00
  • Fri 16.00-17.00
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PhD supervision

Zaki is presently looking to supervise PhD students in the following research areas:

  • Intra-household decision-making
  • Social norms
  • Microfinance
  • Informal and formal insurance
  • Social networks
  • Health and education in developing countries

Current students

Past students

  • Hamna Ahmed, registered 2014
  • Francis Darko, registered 2012
  • Dr Mahreen Mahmud, registered 2012
  • Dr Nazia Mansoor, registered 2010
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Administrative roles

  • Non-Academic Impact Manager (joint with Sophia Davidova)
  • PhD Job Market Placement Officer (joint with Wei Jiang)
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School of Economics, Keynes College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NP

Undergraduate enquiries: +44 (0) 1227 827497, Postgraduate enquiries: +44 (0) 1227 827440 or email us

Last Updated: 15/01/2018