Marta is Director of Research, Young Lives. She joined the Young Lives team in 2015 and since then she has been leading the research team. Marta is a development economist. Her main research interests include labour economics, education economics, and behavioural economics.
She has a PhD in Economics from the University of Essex (UK) and a Masters in Economics from the University of Leuven (Belgium). She has also been an IZA research affiliate since 2012 and a Researcher Fellow with the Oxford Martin Programme on African Governance since 2018.
Before joining Young Lives, Marta worked as an economist at the World Bank (Young Professionals Programme) in the Poverty, Inequality and Gender Unit for the Latin America and Caribbean Region and in the Education Unit for the Africa Region. She has worked in several research projects, survey designs, impact evaluations and policy dialogue with public and private institutions in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
Research grants - ongoing
- Wellcome Trust, "Lifetime and Proximate Risk and Protective Factors for Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing: Young Lives seventh survey round”, Date: 01/04/2023-31/03/202; Role: PI. Total grant: £600k
- Old Dart Foundation, “Niños del Milenio” (Young Lives Peru) research and advocacy 2021-2025”. Date: 01/07/2021-30/06/2025; Role: PI. Total grant: £1m
- Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, Accountable Grant: “Young Lives at Work”. Date: 31/12/2019-31/03/2025; Role: PI; Deputy Director. Total grant: £9.4m
- National Institute of Health (NIH), Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award (R21): "Foundational cognitive skills in low- and middle-income countries: early-life nutritional, climatic and policy determinants and impacts on adolescent education, socio-emotional competencies and risky behaviors". PI: Jere Behrman (UPenn). Role: Co-PI. Date: 31/01/2019-31/12/2023;Total grant: £278k
- Medical Research Council, UK - Peru: Relationship between food, Nutrition & Health: “Nutrition, Lifestyle, Genes and Metabolome - A Biosocial Cohort Study of Obesity in Young Adults from Urban Peru”. Date: 01/04/2019-31/03/2021; PI: Vimal Karani (University of Reading). Role: Co- PI. Total grant: £1.1m
Resaerch grants - past
- ESRC/GCRF Skills and Education 2018, “Inequality of opportunity in Peru: How can young people develop relevant skills and find decent employment in a rapidly changing labour market?”. Date: 01/12/2018-31/03/2021; PI: Catherine Porter, Heriot-Watt University; Role: Co-PI. Total grant: £283k
- Old Dart Foundation, “Niños del Milenio” (Young Lives Peru) research and advocacy 2018-2021”. Date: 01/07/2018-30/06/2021; Role: Co-PI (Oxford PI). Total grant: £400k
- Oxford Martin School, “Governing African Transitions”, PIs: S. Dercon, R. Soares de Oliveira, Oxford University. Date: 01/01/2018-01/01/2020. Role: Investigator. Total grant: £655k
- International Development Research Centre (IDRC, Canada), “A Comparative Study of Child Marriage and Parenthood in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Zambia”, PI: G. Crivello, Oxford University. Date: 01/01/2018-11/01/2019; Role: Investigator. Total grant: £266k
- UK Global Challenges Research Fund- Global Mental Health Research; “The influence of Executive Function on Mental Health in vulnerable adolescents: a multi-site LMICs approach”, PI: C.R. Newton, Oxford University. Date: 02/01/2018-02/01-2019 Role: Investigator. Total grant: £267k
- International Development Research Centre (IDRC, Canada), “Millennials: Enhancing opportunities for vulnerable youth in Latin America”. Date: 03/01/2017-08/01/2018; Role: PI. Total grant: £28k
- The World Bank- Early Learning Partnership Programme, “Early Childhood development and Skills development in Ethiopia, India, Peru, Vietnam”. Date: 01/01/2016-12/31/2016, Role: PI. Total grant: £32k
- William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, “Changing women’s lives in social context: economic growth, cultural norms and the dynamics of gender inequality in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam”. Date: 01/01/2015-09/01/2016, Role: Investigator. Oxford component: £460k
Books and monographsFavara, Marta (with P Darvas, T Arnold )(2017) 'Stepping Up Skills in Ghana: Snapshot of the Step Skills Measurement Survey ', Directions in Development The World BankFavara, Marta (with Joao Pedro Azevedo, Sarah E Haddock; Luis F Lopez-Calva; Miriam Muller; Elizaveta Perova )(2012) 'Teenage Pregnancy and Opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean: On Teenage Fertility Decisions, Poverty and Economic Achievement ', The World Bank
Journal articles and special issuesFavara, Marta (with Richard Freund, Jere Behrman)(2023) 'Social Protection and Foundational Cognitive Skills during Adolescence: Evidence from a Large Public Works Program ', World Bank Economic ReviewFavara, Marta (with M Perez-Alvarez)(2023) 'Children having children: early motherhood and offspring human capital in India ', Journal of Population Economics 36 : 1573–1606Favara, Marta (with R Wuni, EF Ventura, K Curi-Quinto, C Murray, R Nunes, JA Lovegrove, M Penny, A Sanchez, K Santhanakrishnan Vimaleswaran)(2023) 'Interactions between genetic and lifestyle factors on cardiometabolic disease-related outcomes in Latin American and Caribbean populations: A systematic review ', Frontiers in Nutrition 10Favara, Marta (with A Sanchez )(2022) 'The Evolution of Young People’s Mental Health during COVID-19: Evidence from four Low-and-Middle-Income-Countries ', Public Health in PracticeFavara, Marta (with A Sanchez )(2022) 'Young Lives interrupted: Effects of Covid-19 and containment policies on adolescents in low- and middle-income countries ', Journal of Dvelopment StudiesFavara, Marta (with G Chang, R Novella )(2022) 'The origins of cognitive skills and personality: the effect of in-utero climate shocks on adolescents and young adult life outcomes ', Economics & Human Biology 44Favara, Marta (with Saurabh Singhal, Tassew Woldehanna )(2022) 'Young people, mental health, and civil conflict: Preliminary findings from Ethiopia's Tigray region ', Psychiatry Research Communications 2 (1) : 100025Favara, Marta (with M J Vega-Salas, K Curi-Quinto, A Hidalgo-Aréstegui, K Meza-Carbajal, N Lago-Berrocal, L Arias, M Penny, A Sánchez and K Santhanakrishnan Vimaleswaran, )(2022) 'Development of an online food frequency questionnaire and estimation of misreporting of energy intake during the COVID-19 pandemic among young adults in Peru ',Favara, Marta (with Curi-Quinto K., Sánchez, A., Lago-Berrocal N., Penny, M., Murray, C., Nunes, R., Wijeyesekera, A., Lovegrove, J., Soto-Cáceres, V., Karani, V )(2021) 'Role of Government Financial Support and Vulnerability Characteristics Associated with Food Insecurity during the COVID-19 Pandemic among Young Peruvians ', Nutrients 13 (10)Favara, Marta (with C Porter, A Hittemeyer)(2021) 'Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on anxiety and depression symptoms of young people in the Global South: evidence from a four-country cohort study ', BMJ Open 11Favara, Marta (with C Porter, A Sanchez, D Scott)(2021) 'The impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on the experience of domestic violence among young people in Peru: Evidence from a list randomization experiment ', Social Science and Medicine- Population Health 14 : 100792Favara, Marta (with M Penny, E Revathi, A Sánchez, LD Thuc, T Woldehanna, A McKay )(2021) 'Cohort Profile Update: The Young Lives Study ', International Journal of EpidemiologyFavara, Marta (with P Lavado, A Sanchez )(2020) 'Understanding teenage fertility, cohabitation, and marriage: the case of Peru ', Review of Development EconomicsFavara, Marta (with G Crivello )(2020) 'COVID-19 and the ‘Ethics of Disruption’: Current Dilemmas Facing Longitudinal Research in Low- and Middle-Income Countries ', Methodological Innovation 14 (1)Favara, Marta (with M Mitchell, C Porter and A Sanchez )(2020) 'Human Capital Development: New Evidence on the Production of Socio-Emotional Skills ', Journal of Human ResourcesFavara, Marta (with M Perez )(2020) 'Maternal Age and Offspring Human Capital in India ', Journal of Population EconomicsFavara, Marta (with C Porter, T Woldehanna )(2019) 'Smarter through Social Protection? Evaluating the Impact of Ethiopia’s Safety-Net on Child Cognitive Abilities ', Oxford Development Studies 47 (1) : 79-96Favara, Marta (2017) 'Maternal Social Participation and Children Nutritional Status In Peru ', Review of Development EconomicsFavara, Marta (2017) '"Do dreams come true? Aspirations and educational attainments of Ethiopian boys and girls ', Journal of African Economies 26 (1) : 561-583Favara, Marta (with Alan Sanchez )(2017) 'Psychosocial competencies and risky behaviours in Peru ', IZA Journal of Labor & Development 6 (3)
ChaptersFavara, Marta (with F Cuevas, J Rosero )(2016) 'Dimensiones psicosociales de la pobreza ', In Moncayo et al (eds) Poverty Assessment - Reporte de Pobreza por Consumo in Ecuador 2006-2014 Estudio Tematico INEC, The World Bank
ReportsFavara, Marta (with I Appasamy, G Marito )(2015) 'Nigeria: Education and Skills Policy Notes: Skills For Competitiveness And Employability ', The World BankFavara, Marta (with Peter Darvas, Gabriela Munares )(2014) 'Demand and Supply of Skills for Agriculture in Bandundu and Bas-Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo ', The World Bank
Working papersFavara, Marta (with R Freund, C Porter, J Behrman)(2022) 'Social Protection and Foundational Cognitive Skills during Adolescence: Evidence from a Large Public Works Programme ', IZA Discussion Papers 15551Favara, Marta (with A Sanchez, J Behrman, M Sheridan)(2022) 'How Early Nutrition and Foundational Cognitive Skills Interconnect? Evidence from Two Developing Countries ', IZA Discussion Papers 15818Favara, Marta (with J Lopez, J Behrman, S Cueto, A Sanchez)(2022) 'Late-Childhood Foundational Cognitive Skills Predict Educational Outcomes Through Adolescence and Into Young Adulthood: Evidence from Ethiopia and Peru ', University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC), 2022-100Favara, Marta (with R Freund, C Porter, D Scott, D Le Thuc)(2022) 'The Mental Cost of Job Loss: Assessing the Impact on Young Adults in Vietnam ', IZA Discussion Papers 15522Favara, Marta (with A Sánchez )(2021) 'Unpacking the Post-lockdown Employment Recovery of Young Women in the Global South ', IZA Discussion Paper No 14829Favara, Marta (with P Glewwe, A Sanchez )(2021) 'Expecting better? How young people form their earnings expectations ', IZA Discussion Paper No 14289Favara, Marta (with A Sánchez )(2021) 'Stratification of Returns to Higher Education in Peru: The Role of Education Quality and Major Choices ', IZA Discussion Paper No 14339Favara, Marta (with J Aguero, A Sanchez )(2021) 'Do More School Resources Increase Learning Outcomes? Evidence from an Extended School-Day Reform ', IZA Discussion Paper No 14240Favara, Marta (with M Perez )(2020) 'Maternal Age and Offspring Human Capital in India ', CSAE Working Paper WPS/202015Favara, Marta (with M Mitchell, A Sanchez )(2020) 'Human Capital Development: New Evidence on the Production of Socio-Emotional Skills ', IZA Discussion Paper No 13804Favara, Marta (with P Lavado and A Sanchez )(2016) 'Understanding teenage fertility, cohabitation, and marriage: the case of Peru ', GRADE Research Progress Paper No 22Favara, Marta (with Alan Sanchez )(2016) 'Socio-emotional competencies and risky behaviors in Peru ', Young Lives Working Paper No 154Favara, Marta (2016) 'Do dreams come true? Aspirations and educational attainments of Ethiopian boys and girls ', Young Lives Working Paper No 146Favara, Marta (2013) 'Is Self-Esteem a 'Double Edged Sword'? Self-Esteem and the Onset of Adolescent Sexual Activity ', IZA Discussion Paper No 7171Favara, Marta (2012) 'The Cost of Acting ‘Girly’: Gender Stereotypes and Educational Choices ', IZA Discussion Paper No 7037Favara, Marta (2012) '’United We Stand Divided We Fall’: Maternal Social Participation and Children's Nutritional Status In Peru ', Policy Research Working Paper No 6264 The World Bank
Caught in the crossfire: understanding the impact of conflict on young people’s lives in Ethiopia
Initial findings from a Young Lives pilot survey highlight the devastating impacts of the conflict in Ethiopia on young people – and the importance of longitudinal research in tracking and understanding these.