Department of Economics

Littauer Center M-24

Cambridge, MA 02138

melissadell at

Tel: 617-384-7272

Staff Support

Gia Petrakis

Littauer Center 228

gpetrakis at


Professor Dell is the Andrew E. Furer Professor of Economics at Harvard University. She is the 2020 recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded each year to an American economist under the age of forty who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge. In 2018, The Economist named her one of the decade’s eight best young economists, and in 2014 she was named by the IMF as the youngest of 25 economists under the age of 45 shaping thought about the global economy. Her research focuses on economic growth and political economy. She has examined the factors leading to the persistence of poverty and prosperity in the long run, the effects of trade-induced job loss on crime, the impacts of U.S. foreign intervention, and the effects of weather on economic growth. She has also developed deep learning powered methods for curating social science data at scale, released in the open-source package Layout Parser. This work supports many of her current projects, which rely on digitizing historical sources far too large for manual digitization. Professor Dell is a senior scholar at the Harvard Academy for Area and International Studies and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. She received an AB in Economics from Harvard in 2005, an MPhil in Economics from Oxford in 2007, and a PhD in Economics from MIT in 2012. Before joining the Harvard Economics department in 2014, she was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows.

Recent News

2021 Apr

Updated Layout Parser library released

2021 Apr

Layout Parser paper accepted at International Conference on Document Analysis and Recognition

2020 Sep

Jacob Carlson joins our team as a data science fellow

2020 Jun

Work on Japanese documents presented at CVPR

Research Support