Alicia Harley

Alicia Harley


Alicia Harley is a doctoral candidate in Public Policy and a Doctoral Research Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She studies innovation in agriculture systems, specifically her work aims to improve our understanding of how to govern innovation to improve the well-being of small and marginal farmers. She uses a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, relying heavily on organizational behavior and institutional approaches in political science. Her research expands the literature in innovation studies to include a greater focus on innovation in the context of power asymmetries and inequality. Her primary project is a multi-level analysis of agriculture innovation policy in the state of Bihar, India. At the state level, she is analyzing statewide agriculture data and conducting expert interviews across public, private and civil society sectors to better understand the structure of the innovation system in Bihar. In selected villages, through ethnographic and survey-based fieldwork, she is developing a nuanced understanding of the impacts of agriculture policy at the village level. By tracing macro-level policies onto the experience of specific villages, her research is developing insights into the mechanisms through which innovation policy differentially impacts farmers across socioeconomic and caste spectrums. In addition to her work in Bihar, Alicia also works on several other projects including: a randomized control field trial testing different institutional approaches for supporting small and marginal farmers in adoption of solar powered irrigation pumps in Nepal; a cross-state comparison of subsidy policies to promote drip irrigation adoption in India; and a cross national study of policies to promote solar powered irrigation across Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. She also works with the Initiative on Innovation and Access to Technologies for Sustainable Development at Harvard Kennedy School of Government as the agriculture sector lead. Alicia received her BA, magna cum laude, in Environmental Science and Public Policy and a citation in Arabic from Harvard College in 2008 and subsequently worked as a greenhouse gas reduction program coordinator for Harvard's Office for Sustainability. Following that, she spent a year in Cairo as a Fulbright Scholar researching the political economy of agriculture and food security in Egypt before returning to graduate school.'

Fellow at a Glance

Fellowship Year:
Academic Background:
Harvard Kennedy School, PhD
Current Position:
PhD Student
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Policy
Currently Working On:
Innovation in agriculture systems, specifically improving our understanding of how to govern innovation to improve well-being for small farmers in Bihar, India
Weatherhead Center for International Affairs1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(720) 215-6008

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