Kira Villa

Photo: Kira Villa

Graduate Director

Associate Professor

Office:  ECON 2003
Website:  Personal website
CV:  Download PDF


Kira Villa completed her PhD and Master’s degrees in Applied Economics at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University and her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations (Africa-area emphasis) at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. She joined the faculty of the Department of Economics at the University of New Mexico in the Fall 2014. She hails from Chicago, IL. Her favorite things are baseball (Go Cubs Go!), knitting, jigsaw puzzles, Buffy, Avonlea, hiking, pie, her two dogs, and her family. Since moving to Albuquerque she has fallen in love with New Mexico skies and become firmly convinced that almost any food is improved by green chili (even pie!).

Research Areas

Kira is an applied microeconomist with research interests in the areas of nutrition, health, and human development in the context of poverty (especially child poverty) and economic development. She is particularly interested in how characteristics and events during childhood and adolescence influence long-term economic well-being into adulthood and even across generations. Most of her work focuses on the regions of sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Currently her research focusses on intergenerational transmissions of health and human capital and the mechanisms that underlie these transmissions. Her research also currently examines the role of environmental shocks during early childhood and adolescence in influencing long-term well-being.

Teaching Interests

  • Development Economics
  • Econometrics

Selected Publications

Bevis, Leah and Kira Villa (forthcoming) Intergenerational Transmission of Maternal Health: Evidence from Cebu, the Philippines. Journal of Human Resources

Herrera, Catalina, David E. Sahn, and Kira Villa. (2019). Teen Fertility and Female Employment Outcomes: Evidence from Madagascar. Journal of African Economies. 28(3):277-303

Villa, Kira. (2017) Multidimensional Human Capital Formation in a Developing Country: Health, Cognition, and Locus of Control in the Philippines. Journal of Economics & Human Biology. 27(A): 184-197.

Villa, Kira M., Christopher B. Barrett, and David R. Just, (2011) "Whose Fast and Whose Feast? Intrahousehold Asymmetries in Dietary Diversity Response among East African Pastoralists," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 93 (4): 1062-1081.

Robert P Berrens, Melissa Binder, Kira M. Villa. “Catalyst for a Great Transition? Increased Investments in Early Childhood Education in New Mexico.” White Paper, Department of Economics, University of New Mexico. January, 2019.