Jenny C. Aker

Assistant Professor of Development Economics

  • BA, Duke University
  • MALD, The Fletcher School
  • MS, Agricultural Economics, University of California, Berkeley
  • PhD, Agricultural Economics, University of California, Berkeley


Jenny C. Aker is an Assistant Professor of Development Economics with a PhD from UC-Berkeley. Her research focuses on the impact of information technology on development outcomes in Africa. She is the Interim Director of the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP), as well as the Deputy Director of the Hitachi Center for Technology and International Affairs. She is also a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Global Development and a member of the Advisory Board for Frontline SMS. After working for Catholic Relief Services as Deputy Regional Director in West and Central Africa between 1998 and 2003, Aker returned to complete her PhD in agricultural economics at the University of California-Berkeley. Aker works on economic development in Africa, with a primary focus on the impact of information technology (mobile phones) on development outcomes, namely agriculture, education, and health; the impact of drought on agricultural food market performance and famine; the determinants of agricultural technology adoption; and impact evaluations of NGO projects. Aker has conducted field work in many countries in West and Central Africa, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, DRC, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Sudan, as well as Haiti and Guatemala.

Professional Activities
  • Visiting Fellow, Center for Global Development (2008-2009)
  • Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa (1998-2000)
  • Catholic Relief Services Research Fellow and Fulbright Scholar, Institute Agronomique et Veterinaire, Universite de Hassan-II, Rabat, Morocco (1997-1998)
  • Consultant in international development

Research Interests
  • Development Economics
  • Information Technology
  • Agricultural Markets
  • Applied Econometrics
  • Program Evaluation

Aker, Jenny C. and Jesse Tack. "Information Technology and Firms' Search Behavior." In submission. 2011
• Aker, Jenny C. and Isaac Mbiti. 2009. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa." Journal of Economic Perspectives 24: 3, (2009).
Aker, Jenny C. 2008. "Towards Measuring the Impact of the World Food Program's Purchase for Progress Initiative." CGD Essay # 1417886.
Aker, Jenny C. 2008. "Can you Hear me Now? How Cell Phone are Transforming Markets in sub-Saharan Africa." CGD Note.
• Aker, Jenny C. 2008. "Drought and Food Crises in Niger." CGD Working Paper #157. Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development.
• "Do Borders Matter? Borders and Markets in West Africa” (with Jenny C. Aker and Steven O’Connell).




Email Address

Office Phone

Mailing Address
160 Packard Avenue, Tufts University
Medford, MA, 02155