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Alicia Menendez

Pronouns: She/Her

Alicia has extensive experience evaluating education, health, labor markets, and household behavior programs.

Alicia is an economist with over 25 years of experience conducting research and evaluations in lower- and middle-income countries. She is also a Research Associate Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, where she has been faculty since 2003. Alicia specializes in designing and conducting randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental evaluations across fields such as education, health, household behavior, and labor markets in low- and middle-income countries. With a commitment to evidence-based policymaking, Alicia oversees large-scale data collection efforts and leads interdisciplinary teams to analyze data and generate robust evidence that informs funding and policy decisions. She also has participated in qualitative data collection efforts using traditional and innovative techniques.

Alicia was Lead Principal Investigator on USAID’s Reading and Access Evaluation Projects, a $25 million multi-country evaluation of the impact and cost effectiveness of USAID-funded projects aimed at improving reading and increasing equitable access to education in fragile and conflict-affected environments. She also served as the Impact Evaluation Leader for USAID/Uganda Impact and Performance Evaluation of the Literacy Achievement and Retention Activity (LARA) in Uganda, which focuses on early grade reading and school related gender-based violence (SRGBV) in primary schools.

Alicia has conducted research in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ghana, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, India, Jordan, Liberia, Malawi, Morocco, Nepal, Mongolia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Alicia has published in many peer-reviewed journals and received research funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Gates Foundation, and Hewlett Foundation, among others. She has worked as a consultant for the United Nations, the World Bank, and many private foundations and NGOs. In addition to her research she is a dedicated educator, having taught many classes for undergraduate and graduate students, executives, policy makers, USAID officials, practitioners, teachers, and others.

Before coming to the University of Chicago, she was a Research Scholar at the Research Program in Development Studies at Princeton University as well as a Lecturer in Economics and Public and International Affairs at the Economics Department and the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.



Boston University


Universidad Torcuato Di Tella


Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires

Appointments & Affiliations

Research Associate Professor

University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy

Project Contributions

Reading & Access Evaluations

Generating evidence to inform USAID’s early grade reading and access to education programs


U.S. Agency for International Development

Read Liberia Program Impact Evaluation

Impact evaluation finds high-quality materials are key to improving reading outcomes


U.S. Agency for International Development

Tusome Early-Grade Reading Evaluation

Translating USAID-funded pilot programs into national-scale initiatives


U.S. Agency for International Development