• Anup Malani

    Lee and Brena Freeman Professor | University of Chicago Law School

    Research Associate | National Bureau of Economic Research

    I am an economist and a lawyer. I conduct research at the intersection of economics and law, health, and development. My research in law and economics analyzes judicial decision making and, recently, the legal implications of blockchain. My work in health economics focuses on medical innovation, health insurance, and the evolution and control of infectious diseases. My projects in development economics evaluate interventions using randomized controlled trials (RCT) and aim to understand development challenges using administrative data.


    I believe that research is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. Therefore, I have spent the last few years building an organization called the International Innovation Corps (IIC). The IIC helps governments and NGOs, initially in India, implement development projects. We provide project management and data analysis, and help build organizational capacity.


    You can download my most recent CV here.

  • Research

    The Indian Health Insurance Experiment (IHIE)

    The IHIE is large-scale RCT that examines the impact of India's national health insurance program, Ratriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. With over 150 million enrollees, it is one of the largest health insurance programs in the world. The study examines not only the health and financial outcomes associated with RSBY, but also spillover effects from the insured to the non-insured. Co-investigators on this project are Cynthia Kinnan, Alessandra Voena, Gabriella Conti and Kosuke Imai.

    The Evolution of

    Seasonal Influenza

    Jointly with Sarah Cobey and Frank Wen, this project uses computer simulations to study the impact of flu vaccination on the evolutionary dynamics and incidence of seasonal influenza (H3N2).

    The Economic Lives of Slum Dwellers

    Jointly with Adam Chilton, this project examines the lives of residents in Mumbai's slums from an economics perspective. We examine how they obtain public and merit goods, how they make and enforce contracts, their residential choices, and their migration decisions. Because most slum residents are migrants from rural villages, we also examine whether and why there is a persistent urban wage premium, i.e., why more people do not migrate from rural areas into urban slums.

    The Impact of Son Preference on Marriage Markets

    This project examines how son preference (a desire to have a boy rather than girl) at birth impacts Indian marriage markets. I examine how it affects age at marriage and total fertility, migration decisions, and divorce and polyandry.

    The Mission Kakatiya Experiment

    This is an RCT that evaluates Mission Kakathiya, which is a large-scale infrastructure project in Telangana State, India. The project's goal is to rehabilitate water tanks, to encourage more sustainable gravity-based irrigation rather than electricity-powered bore well irrigation. Along with Aprajit Mahajan and Xavier Gine, I study the impact of Mission Kakathiya on agricultural output, farmer livelihoods, and aquifer levels.

    The Legal Implications of Blockchain

    This project examines the impact that blockchain and 'smart contracts' technology may have on contracting, voting systems, and privacy. I also examine legal issues in the blockchain ecosystem, such as when Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) do or do not constitute securities offerings, which are subject to SEC registration requirements.

  • The Blog

    Development, blockchain, and science

  • Fieldsites

    Mumbai Slums


    We conduct our fieldwork with the help of the NGO PUKAR and their 'barefoot researchers', surveyors who are also residents of the slum. We work in both government-recognized (notified) and unrecognized (non-notified) sections of the slum.

    Central and South India

    Gulbarga and Mysore Districts, Karnataka State

    With the help of IFMR and Nielsen, our Indian Health Insurance Experiment research team works predominantly in rural and peri-urban areas -- a total of 200 villages -- in these two districts.

    Rural Telangana State

    Various districts

    With the help of surveyors from J-PAL South Asia, we work with farmers living around water tanks that have been or will be rehabilitated under Mission Kakathiya.

  • Publications

    Most recent publications

    Anup Malani and Tomas Philipson. Can Medical Progress be Sustained? Implications of the link between development and output markets. Journal of Human Capital (forthcoming).


    William Baude, Adam Chilton and Anup Malani, Making Doctrinal Work More Rigorous: Lessons from Systematic Reviews. University of Chicago Law Review (2017).


    Amitabh Chandra, Michael Frakes, and Anup Malani. Challenges To Reducing Discrimination And Health Inequity Through Existing Civil Rights Laws. Health Affairs (2017).


    Darius Lakdawalla, Anup Malani and Julian Reif. The Insurance Value of Medical Innovation. Journal of Public Economics 145 (2017) 94–102.

    Representative publications

    Anup Malani and Julian Reif. Interpreting Pre-trends as Anticipation: Impact on Estimated Treatment Effects from Tort Reform, Journal of Public Economics, 124: 1-17 (2015) (lead article).


    Daniel Bennett, Chun-fang Chiang, Anup Malani. Learning During a Crisis: the SARS Epidemic in Taiwan, Journal of Development Economics, 112:1-18 (2015).


    Ramanan Laxminarayan, Julian Reif, and Anup Malani. Incentives for Reporting Disease Outbreaks. PLoS ONE 9(3) (2014).


    Maciej Boni, Allison Galvani, Abraham Wickelgren, and Anup Malani. Economic Epidemiology of Avian Influenza on Smallholder Poultry Farms, Theoretical Population Biology, 90:135-44 (2013),


    Emir Kamenica, Robert Naclerio, and Anup Malani. Do advertisements affect the physiological efficacy of branded drugs? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2013).


    Michael Eber, Ramanan Laxminarayan, Eli N. Perencevich and Anup Malani. Clinical and Economic Outcomes Attributable to Healthcare-Associated Sepsis and Pneumonia, Archives of Internal Medicine (Feb. 22, 2010).


    Ward Farnsworth, David Guzior, and Anup Malani. Ambiguity about ambiguity: An empirical inquiry into legal interpretation. Journal of Legal Analysis, 2(1) (2010).


    Anup Malani. Patient enrollment in medical trials: Selection bias in a randomized experiment. Journal of Econometrics, 144(2): 341-351 (2008).


    Anup Malani. Valuing Laws as Local Amenities. Harvard Law Review, 121(5): 1273-1331 (2008).


    Todd Henderson and Anup Malani. Corporate Philanthropy and the Market for Altruism. Columbia Law Review, 109(5): 571-627 (2009).


    Anup Malani and Eric Posner. For-Profit Charities. Virginia Law Review, 93(8): 2017-2067 (2007).


    Anup Malani. Identifying Placebo Effects with Data from Clinical Trials. Journal of Political Economy, 114(2): 236-256 (2006).


    Anup Malani. Habeas Settlements. Virginia Law Review, 92(1): 1-68 (2006).


    Richard Hynes, Anup Malani, and Eric Posner. The Political Economy of State Property Exemption Laws. Journal of Law and Economics, 47: 19-44 (2004).

    Working papers

    Richard Holden and Anup Malani, Can blockchain address the problem of holdup in contracts? Whitepaper (2017).


    Eric Helland, Darius Lakdawalla, Anup Malani, and Seth Seabury. Unintended consequences of products liability: evidence from the pharmaceutical market (Mar 2016) (under review at the Journal of Law, Economics and Organization).


    Scott Baker and Anup Malani. Judicial Learning and the Quality of Legal Rules (January 2015).


    Laszlo Jakab, Christian Leuz, and Anup Malani, The Nature and Development of Commercial Conflicts of Interest Disclosed in Medical Journal Articles (June 2013).


    Scott Baker and Anup Malani. Does Accuracy Improve the Information Value of Trials? NBER Working Paper (Feb 2013).


    Richard Holden and Anup Malani. Allocating Scarce Information (June 2013).


    Anup Malani. Does the Felony-Murder Rule Deter Crime? Evidence from FBI Crime Data (Jan 2002).

  • Teaching

    Law School

    • Law and economics (Fall 2017)
    • Law and development (Spring 2018)
    • Bankruptcy
    • Corporations
    • Health law
    • Food and Drug Law
    • Federal Budget Process
    • Big problems* (joint with Business School) (Spring 2018)

    *This course helps students develop frameworks to tackle interdisciplinary public policy problems such as climate change, health care reform, and cybersecurity.

    Economics Department

    • Advanced law and economics (PhD)

    Business School

    • Big problems (joint with Law School) (Spring 2018)

    Medical School

    • Health economics*
    • Placebo effects* 

    *Short courses for students in fellowship training

  • Int'l Innovation Corps

    Our story

    When I was beginning the Indian Health Insurance Experiment in 2013, a bureaucrat asked me why researchers like me were always coming to evaluate their projects rather than helping them do their projects better. What they wanted was not an academic grade, but assistance with improving their performance. Moreover, I realized that when research finds that a program has no impact, it is often difficult to asses whether it failed because the program was a bad idea, or because it was implemented poorly. Often it is the latter, in which case the right solution is not abandoning the policy but helping improve implementation.


    Researchers don't have a lot of tools to help with that, so in 2013 I started the International Innovation Corps (www.iic.uchicago.edu). The IIC sends teams of people to help governments and NGOs implement development projects. We recruit people in the US and host countries who might otherwise go straight into the private sector, but who have talents that the civil sector needs. Our teams help with project management, analytics, and building organizational capacity. We primarily operate in India, but have done projects in Brazil and are exploring opportunities elsewhere in Latin America, as well as in Africa and Southeast Asia. The IIC currently has 31 associates working on eight different projects throughout India. We are grateful for the support of our funders, which include or have included the Gates Foundation, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, the Tata Trusts, Edelweiss Foundation, and USAID.

    Our projects

    Here is a sample of the 22 projects we have undertaken or are presently undertaking.


    Helped the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation develop a regulatory structure for 24 charter cities in northern India (2014).


    Helped the National Skills Development Council develop and execute plans to finance job training for textile workers. The textile industry is a sector with a largely informal, 40 - 60 million person workforce and substantial employment churn (2014).


    With the support of the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, we helped the State of Haryana build a Management Information System (MIS) to operate its roughly 14,000 public schools. We used the MIS to reduce understaffing at schools from 40 to 20% (2015).


    At the request of USAID, we helped the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry run a large social impact investment fund called Millennium Alliance (2015)


    With the support of the Tata Trusts, we helped the State of Karnataka run three public insurance programs, including Rastriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, Arogayshree Vajpayee, and the Chief Minister's new traffic accident insurance program (2016)


    With the support of the Gates Foundation we are helping the Administrative Staff College of India implement and evaluate interventions to reduce fecal contamination of Ghodavari river in Andra Pradesh (2016-2017)


    With the support of the Tata Trusts, we are helping the Self Employed Women Association improve its processes for serving it 1.4 million members (2017)

  • News

    via @anup_malani on Twitter

  • Experience

    University of Chicago Law School

    June 2005 - present

    Professor (until 2010)

    Lee and Brena Freeman Professor (since 2011)

    Harvard Law School

    Sept. - Dec. 2008, Sept. 2008 - April 2009

    Visiting Professor

    Roscoe Pound Visiting Professor (2008-2009)

    University of Virginia

    June 2002 - May 2005

    Associate Professor

    U.S. Supreme Court

    July 2001 - June 2002

    Law clerk to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

    U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

    July 2000 - June 2001

    Law clerk to Judge Stephen Williams

  • Contact me

    1111 E. 60th Street
    Chicago, IL 60637
    All Posts