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Laura Ripani

Laura Ripani
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Alumna
GRID Minor, 2003
PhD in Economics, 2004

What is the focus of your current work and/or subject of your current research?
I am currently a Lead Economist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in Washington DC.  With a history dating back to 1959, today the IDB is the leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean. We provide loans, grants, and technical assistance; and we conduct extensive research. I specialize in the area of labor markets, with special interest in improving labor markets opportunities for youth and studying the link between social protection programs and labor market outcomes.

How has your GRID minor helped you in your career?
My GRID minor was fundamental to have an expertise on gender issues that I found valuable in several ways. The first one was that my first job, after finishing my PhD in Economics at the University of Illinois, was at the World Bank in the Poverty and Gender Group of Latin America and the Caribbean Region. This particular group was very interested in someone that could combine knowledge about poverty and labor markets with expertise on  gender. Later on in my career, the minor was an excellent base to mainstream gender issues in all the projects that I have worked on, in countries as different as Argentina, Nicaragua, Honduras, Brazil, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, among others.

Do you have any advice or suggestions for current GRID Students?
I would say that they should take advantage of the GRID minor to work with sensitivity to gender issues, during their whole career. They should also use the minor as an excellent selling point to potential employers interested in personnel who understand gender issues.

How can we learn more about your work through social media?
IDB website:,2967.html
Video about one of the projects I worked with for ten years:,2173.html?videoID=9427&videoTitle=Youth-and-Employment#.V8CLsPkrLGg
One of the projects that I worked on in the last two years: