Patrick McEwan

Luella LaMer Slaner Professor in Latin American Studies and Professor of Economics

Research in the economics of education, development economics, and Latin American education and social policy.

I conduct research on education and social policy in developing countries, especially in Latin America. I am especially interested in identifying and explaining the causal impact of policies on the schooling, health, and economic outcomes of children and their families. In past research, I have explored the impact of conditional cash transfers and rural school reform in Honduras, of youth orchestras in Venezuela, and of private school vouchers and free school meals in Chile. My work has received financial support from the the Inter-American Development Bank, the RAND Corporation, the Spencer Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It has been published in several books and many journals, including the American Economic Review, the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, the Journal of Human Resources, and the Journal of Public Economics. At Wellesley, I enjoy teaching courses in introductory microeconomics, Latin American development, and the economics of education.



  • B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • M.A., Stanford University
  • Ph.D., Stanford University

Current and upcoming courses

  • The course is a survey of economic development in Latin America, with an emphasis on public policies aimed at reducing poverty and inequality. How can we define and measure development? How did Latin American governments pursue development over the 20th century and into the 21st? How does contemporary social and education policy contribute to the reduction of poverty and inequality? The course introduces students to policy evaluation, with a focus on understanding and writing about field experiments in Latin America. (ECON 241 and LAST 241 are cross-listed courses.)