Christopher Neilson is an applied microeconomist and his research focuses on the study of education markets. He designs and evaluates public policies using a mix of experimental methods together with the estimation of structural microeconomic models of firm and consumer behavior.
He holds a joint appointment at the Economics Department and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is a member of the Industrial Relations Section and Education Research Section at Princeton University and a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research Industrial Organization and Education programs, as well as an affiliate of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) network.
A theme in his research agenda is to study education markets using tools from empirical industrial organization together with program evaluation tools typically used in labor and development economics. He uses this combination of methods to provide credible evidence regarding the behavior of market participants first, and then uses this as an input to estimate the best available equilibrium models of behavior to provide additional insights about the potential equilibrium effects of counterfactual policies.
A second theme in his research agenda is to focus on working with governments and administrative offices that are currently designing or implementing policies that are relevant to his areas of interest. This relationship with policymakers will often present the opportunity to influence the design of the policy, both to potentially improve it based on prior evidence as well as to facilitate ex post evaluation.