Profile Photo

Atonu Rabbani

Professor, Mushtaque Chowdhury Chair in Health and Poverty

Short Biography

Atonu Rabbani currently holds the Mushtaque Chowdhury Professorship of Health and Poverty at the BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health at BRAC University. He is an applied microeconomist with research interests covering various topics, including public health, labor, organization, and, more recently, issues related to energy consumption. Rabbani employs experimental and quasi-experimental methodologies to understand how to promote technology and behavioral change adoption and the consequences of such adoptions. Presently, he is working on a project to investigate whether correcting presbyopia can lead to higher uptake of digital financial services among existing social safety net beneficiaries. He has also evaluated different financial tools aimed at reducing out-of-pocket payments among disadvantaged groups in rural Bangladesh. Rabbani has several papers published in international peer-reviewed journals, including Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Social Science & Medicine, Environmental Science & Technology, Journal of Regional Science, American Economic Review, The Lancet, Annals of Internal Medicine, Journal of Biosocial Science, Health Services Research, and Archives of Internal Medicine, among others. He obtained a PhD and an MA in Economics from the University of Chicago and an MSS and BSS (Honors) in Economics from the University of Dhaka.

Module(s) taught (in MPH)

  • MPH 520: Quantitative Research Methods
  • MPH 531: Health Economics & Health Care Financing
  • MPH 691: Monitoring and Evaluation of Public Health Programmes

Current Projects

1. Project: Transforming Households with Refraction and Innovative Financial Technology (THRIFT): A randomised controlled trial (RCT) on the impact of free reading glasses to support use of smartphone banking in Bangladesh among government Old Age Allowance (OAA)/Widow Allowance (WA) beneficiaries
Donor: Queen’s University of Belfast, Welcome Trust
Role: PI

2. Project: Impact Assessment of IFC-BW GEAR Program in Bangladesh
Donor: International Financial Corporation (IFC)
Role: PI

3. Project: Exploring adoption of renewable energy technology (RET) among apparel exporters in Bangladesh: Policy landscape, current capacities, and future pathways
Donor: Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL), Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
Role: PI

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

Islam M.N., Rabbani A., Talukder A., Siddiqua R.R., Nujhat S.., Rahman M, Roy A., Sarker M. Edutainment and the prevention of under-age marriages: The evaluation of a television series designed to promote positive role models in Bangladesh. Forthcoming at Journal of Development Effectiveness.

Grépin, K.A., Mueller, V., Wu, N., & Rabbani, A. (2023). Unmasking the truth: experimental evidence of facemask compliance in Bangladesh, Kenya, and Nigeria during the COVID-19 pandemic. PLOS Global Public Health, 3(3), e0001086.

Mueller, V., Grépin, K., Rabbani, A., Ngunjiri, A., Oyekunle, A., & Wenham, C. (2023). Domestic Burdens Amid Covid-19 and Women’s Mental Health in Middle-Income Africa. Feminist Economics, 29(2), 192-218.

Bakhtiar, M.M., & Rabbani, A. (2022). Household Shocks and Consumption Smoothing: Evidence from Northern Bangladesh. The Journal of Developing Areas 56(4), 279-302.

Rabbani, A., Mehareen, J., Chowdhury, I.A., & Sarker, M. (2022). Mandatory employer-sponsored health financing scheme for semiformal workers in Bangladesh: An experimental assessment. Social Science & Medicine, 292, 114590.

Hussam R., Rabbani A., Reggiani G., Rigol N. 2022. “Rational Habit Formation: Experimental Evidence from Handwashing in India.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 14 (1): 1-41. [Lead Article]

Mueller, V., Grépin, K. A., Rabbani, A., Navia, B., Ngunjiri, A. S., & Wu, N. (2022). Food insecurity and COVID‐19 risk in low‐and middle‐income countries. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, 44(1), 92-109.

Jahan I., Iqbal K., Rabbani A., Shonchoy A.S. “One and a Half Years into the Pandemic in Bangladesh: What Have We Learned So Far?” Journal of Bangladesh Studies, Special Issue on COVID-19, 2021, 23(1), 1-18.

Hossain N, Rabbani A, Sarker M. Health Shock and Preference Instability: Assessing Health-State Dependency of Willingness-to-Pay. Health Economics Review (2019) 9: 32.

Islam M.N., Engels T., Hossain S., Sarker M., Rabbani A. Willingness-to-pay for Cataract Surgeries among Patients visiting Eye-care Facilities in Dhaka. Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, August 2019, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 545–554. DOI:

Research Interests

Applied Microeconomics Health Economics Labor & Organizational Economics Behavioral Economics Impact Evaluation.


  • PhD (2007) and MA (2003) in Economics
  • University of Chicago. MSS (2000) and BSS (Honors
  • 1998) in Economics
  • University of Dhaka.