Damien de Walque is a Senior Economist in the Development Research Group (Human Development and Public Services Team) at the World Bank. He received his Ph.D.in Economics from the University of Chicago in 2003. His research interests include health and education and the interactions between them. His current work is focused on evaluating the impact of financial incentives on health and education outcomes. He is currently evaluating the education and health outcomes of conditional cash transfers linked to school attendance and health center visits in Burkina Faso.
He is also working on evaluating the impact of HIV/AIDS interventions and policies in several African countries. He is leading two evaluations of the impact of short-term financial incentives on the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs): individuals who test negatively for a set of STIs receive regular cash payment in Tanzania, while in Lesotho they receive lottery tickets. On the supply side of health services, he is managing a large portfolio of impact evaluations of results-based financing in the health sector. He has also edited a book on risky behaviors for health (smoking, drugs, alcohol, obesity, risky sex) in the developing world.
A growing share of the burden of disease across the world is associated with risky behaviors by individuals. Drug use, smoking, alcohol, unhealthy eating causing obesity, and unsafe sex are highly prevalent in low-income countries, even though they are traditionally associated with richer countries. Understanding the factors driving those behaviors represents a priority not only from a public health perspective but from a broader development one.