Azhar Hussain’s evolving interest in energy and environmental topics grew as a Research Associate at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), a network of affiliated professors from 49 universities whose mission is to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence.

At J-PAL, he was exposed to energy access and accounting problems faced in India through his work on the Light Up Bihar study, which focused on improving the revenue parameters and checking commercial losses incurred by the Power Distribution Companies in Bihar. His short-term projects with other prominent development economists including Jean Dreze helped him understand the importance of economics in day-to-day life. In addition, his previous internship with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) enriched his understanding of the environmental impact of over-utilization of natural resources.

“All these rich experiences and my love for economics learning encouraged me to take up a research career, which I hope to nourish with time” he said.

As a Pre-Doctoral Fellow at EPIC, Azhar worked on the Social Cost of Carbon project with Michael Greenstone. His interest include studying the impact of energy usage on environment. He aims to monetize the environmental impacts on different sectors such as labor, agriculture, etc., and link that to macroeconomic parameters like GDP.

During his time at EPIC, he intended to improve his research capabilities, especially as they relate to energy and environmental economics. He also hoped to take economics courses offered by the University of Chicago.