Ph.D., Economics, University of Washington
B.A. Economics (with Distinction), University of Calgary
(206) 543-0365

Leigh Anderson joined the Evans School faculty in 1997. Her primary research interest is in how individuals living in poverty make financial, environmental, health, and other livelihood decisions, especially when outcomes are highly risky or spread over time. Her current research focuses on rural poverty and agriculture, and market and policy institutions.

Anderson founded and directs the Evans School Policy Analysis and Research Group (EPAR) who produce evidence reviews on a range of topics who make accessible data, code and visualizations for agricultural, digital financial services, and women's groups data.  EPAR's research is supported by the Agricultural Development, Development Policy and Finance, and Financial Services for the Poor teams at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Anderson teaches courses in economics, statistics, and international economic development.

Anderson previously taught at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She has also taught or been a visiting researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan, Renmin University of China in Beijing, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.

Anderson is a recipient of the University of Washington’s Excellence in Teaching Award and the UW’s Department of Economics Henry T. Buechel Award for outstanding undergraduate teaching.

Professional Title: 
Marc Lindenberg Professor for Humanitarian Action, International Development, and Global Citizenship
International Development
Public Policy Analysis and Evaluation
Recent Publications: 
  • Wineman, A., Njagi, T., Anderson, C. L., Reynolds, T., Wainaina, P., Njue, E., Biscaye, P., Ayieko, M. W (2020). “A case of mistaken identity? Measuring rates of improved seed adoption in Tanzania using DNA fingerprinting”.  Journal of Agricultural Economics.  http://doi: 10.1111/1477-9552.12368
  • Wineman, A., Anderson, C. L., Reynolds, T., Biscaye, P. (2019) "Methods of crop yield measurement on multi-cropped plots: Examples from Tanzania,” Food Security.
  • Anderson, L., Reynolds, T. (2019). Measurement choices with consequences:  How we measure yield, crop diversity and smallholders can mischaracterize contributions of agrobiodiversity to smallholder livelihoods. Invited contribution to Mainstreaming Agrobiodiversity in Sustainable Food Systems, Bioversity International.
  • Gugerty, M. K., Anderson, C. L., Biscaye, P. (2019). Delivering Development? Evidence on Self-Help Groups as Development Intermediaries in South Asia and Africa. Development Policy Review.
  • Alison Cullen, C. Leigh Anderson, Pierre Biscaye, and Travis Reynolds (2018), “Gender-Associated Differences in Cross Domain Risk Perception among Smallholder Farmers in Mali: Implications for Development, Risk Analysis - an International Journal, 38(7), 1361-1377.
  • C. Leigh Anderson, Travis Reynolds, Josh Merfeld and Pierre Biscaye (2017), “Relating Seasonal Hunger, Coping and Prevention Strategies: A Panel Analysis of Malawian Farm Households,”  Journal of Development Studies, 1-19.
  • Pierre Biscaye, Travis Reynolds, and C. Leigh Anderson, (2017) “Relative Effectiveness of Bilateral and Multilateral Aid on Development Outcomes", Rev Dev Econ.
  • Anderson, C. Leigh, Travis Reynolds and Mary Kay Gugerty, (2017) Husband and Wife Perspectives on Farm Household Decision-making Authority: Evidence on Intra-household Accord in Rural Tanzania,World Development.
  • Kelly, Allison and C. L. Anderson (2016) "Comparing farmer assessments of soil quality and measured assessments of soil quality in Tanzania: Do they align?" Journal of Natural Resources and Development.
  • Cullen, Alison and C. L. Anderson (2016), “Perception and Measurement of Climate Risk and Livelihood Vulnerability Among the Rural Poor in Vietnam.” Risk Analysis.
  • Anderson, C. Leigh, Andrew Cronholm, and Pierre Biscaye (2016) “Aligning Agronomic Characteristics with Climate Change: A Case Study of Maize Farmers in Chiapas, México,” invited chapter of the Handbook of Behavioral Economics and Smart Decision-Making. Edward Elgar, Morris Altman ed. 
  • Reynolds, T., Stephen R. Waddington, C. L. Anderson,  A. Chew, Z. True and A. Cullen (2015) “Environmental impacts and constraints associated with the production of major food crops in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, Food Security, Vol 7, Issue 4. pp.795-822.
  • Rachel Nugent, Carol Levin, Daniel Grafton, Jessica Fanzo, Roseline Remans, and Leigh Anderson (2015). “Indicators for Nutrition-Friendly and Sustainable Food Systems,” chapter 7 in the 2015 Global Nutrition Report: Actions and Accountability to Advance Nutrition and Sustainable Development. International Food Policy Research Institute. Washington, DC.
  • Individual and Intra-household Positionality in Vietnam (with Katelyn Stahley and Alison Cullen).  Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics 49, 2014, pp.26–34.
  • Savings and Personal Discount Rates in a Matched Savings Program for Low Income Families (with Marieka Klawitter and Mary Kay Gugerty). Contemporary Economic Policy, May 2012
  •  The Meaning of Native American Land Ownership: A Study in Psychological Entitlement, Reference Levels and Valuation Disparities, (with Richard O. Zerbe) in The Evolution of Property Rights Related to Land and Natural Resources, Daniel H Cole and Elinor Ostrom, eds. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2012.
  • Are Women as Likely to Take Risks and Compete? (with Diana Fletschner and Alison Cullen)  Journal of Development Studies, 2010 Vol. 46, Issue 8, 1459-1479.
  • Seed Trade in Rural Markets: Implications for Crop Diversity and Agricultural Development (editor with Leslie Lipper and Timothy J. Dalton) provides case studies from Bolivia, India, Kenya, Mali, and Mexico on agricultural seed and product markets that describe important market characteristics expected to affect farmers’ access to seeds and varieties, 2010, London: FAO and Earthscan.
  • Intertemporal Choice and Development Policy:  New Evidence on Time-Varying Discount Rates from Vietnam and Russia (with Mary Kay Gugerty) The Developing Economies 47, no. 2. June 2009: 123-46.
  • Preference Variability Along the Policy Chain in Vietnam (with Alison Cullen and Kostas Stamoulis) Journal of Socio-economics, 37, 2008: 1729-1745.
  • The Implications of Behavioral Economics for International Development Policy, (with Kostas Stamoulis) in Advancing Development: Core Themes in Global Economics, George Mavrotas and Tony Shorrocks eds., Palgrave-MacMillan, 2007.
  • Teach Your Children Well: Values of Thrift and Saving (with Neil Nevitte)  Journal of Economic Psychology, Volume 27, Issue 2, April 2006, 247-261.
  • Discount Rates in Vietnam, (with Maya Dietz, Andrew Gordon and Marieka Klawitter). Economic Development and Cultural Change, July 2004 (52:4).
  • Making Progress: Essays in Progress and Public Policy (editor with Janet Looney) draws on writers from many disciplines to provoke a broad-based discussion on the meaning of, measurement of, and necessary conditions for progress.
  •  “Microcredit, Social Capital, and Common Pool Resources,”(with Rachel E. Nugent and Laura (Bach) Locker).World Development, Vol. 30/1, 2002, 95-105.
  • “Culture and Fairness in the Development of Institutions in the California Gold Fields,” (with Richard O. Zerbe) The Journal of Economic History, Vol. X, 2001, 114-143.

Current and past projects

  • Evans School Policy Analysis and Research group (EPAR) with support from the Agricultural Development, Development Policy and Finance, and Financial Services for the Poor team of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • “Enhancing Women’s Participation Along the Agriculture Value Chain in Tanzania,” (with Mary Kay Gugerty) funded by USAID Innovations in Gender Equality (IGE) to Promote Household Food Security Programs

  • Global Women’s Philanthropy is a research project led by the Washington Women’s Foundation's founder, Colleen Willoughby, and supported by the Marc Lindenberg Center to promote women as philanthropists.

  • Improving Market Participation for the Poor (IMPP) is a collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to conduct research on the effectiveness of programs designed to increase market opportunities and connections for the rural poor in central Vietnam.

  • Curriculum, Research, and Outreach in Microfinance: A joint microfinance project sponsored by the US State Department. Participants: Baikal Institute of Business and International Management (BIBIM ISU), Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Washington, Siberian Academy of Public Administration (SAPA).
Courses taught: 
  • PBAF 516: Economics for Policy Analysis and Management I
  • PBAF 533: Economics of International Development
  • PBAF 506: Advanced Microeconomics for Policy Analysis 
  • PBAF 530: Topics in International Affairs
  • PBAF 528: Quantitative Analysis II
  • PBAF 537: International Trade and Environmental Policy
  • PBAF 599: Topics in Microfinance

Learn about Professor Anderson's current research