Tomoko Harigaya

I am the Director of Research at Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD), a global non-profit that provides actionable information to enable smallholder farmers to improve their wellbeing. A core principle of PAD’s approach is to use evidence and rigorous research in learning, innovating, and scaling low-cost interventions that generate large aggregate impacts for low-income households in developing countries.


I am a development economist. In my research I use insights from economics and experimentation to inform the design of development interventions and policies.

I graduated from Harvard Kennedy School with a PhD in Public Policy in 2017. My PhD research focused on understanding how the design of financial service for the poor affects its access, take-up, and impact. Working as a research consultant for Grameen Foundation, I conducted an experiment with a rural bank to assess the effects of digitizing group microfinance transactions.

Prior to graduate school, I lived in the Philippines and served as a Philippines Country Director for Innovations for Poverty Action.



Working papers

Harigaya T. 2020. “Effects of Digitization on Financial Behaviors: Experimental Evidence from the Philippines”.

Mobile technology has the potential to increase the efficiency and the usage of financial services for the poor. Many of these services are, however, traditionally delivered in a group setting. Digitization may then disrupt the existing social architecture, leaving its overall effect uncertain. Using a randomized experiment in the Philippines, I examine how the introduction of mobile banking in group microfinance affects savings behavior of existing clients and find that the average daily balance and frequency of deposits declined by 20% over two years.

Cole S., Harigaya T., Kileen G., and Krishna A. 2020. “Using Satellites and Phones to Evaluate and Promote Agricultural Technology Adoption: Evidences from Smallholder Farms in India”.

A nascent literature demonstrates the feasibility of using satellite data to measure smallholder farmers’ agricultural yields. Yet, such techniques have not yet been widely adopted, particularly within the context of randomized evaluations. In this paper, we use an experiment to estimate the impact of a customized soil nutrient management advice for farmers in Gujarat, India, delivered at low cost via mobile phones.


Fabregas R., Harigaya T., and Kremer, M. 2020. “Digital Agricultural Extension for Development”. Forthcoming in Development Engineering. Springer.

Harigaya T and Karlan D. 2014. “Chapter 5. Experimental Designs” in The Practical Guide to Impact Assessments of Microinsurance.” In The Practical Guide to Impact Assessments of Microinsurance. Microinsurance Network.

De Braw A and Harigaya T. 2007. “Seasonal Migration and Improving Living Standards in Vietnam.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics , 89, 2, Pp. 439-447.

Giné X, Harigaya T, Karlan D, and Nguyen B. 2006. Evaluating Microfinance Program Innovation with Randomized Controlled Trials: An Example from Group versus Individual Liability. Asian Development Bank Economics and Research Department Technical Note Series #16.