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Picture of Carolyn Pelnik

Carolyn Pelnik

School: Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Fletcher School

Department: Economics

Research Interests: Economics and Public Policy

TIE Affiliation

Environmental Research Fellowship


Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the world, affecting more people than any other extreme weather event. Developing countries in particular face unique risks, particularly as extreme weather events become more frequent. My project uses satellite data with a household panel to evaluate the impacts of flooding on household businesses in India, where self-employment is especially common. I seek to understand both the persistence of flood impacts and how microenterprises respond to environmental shocks. Ultimately, my project aims to quantify the costs of flooding imposed on microfirms and inform natural disaster response.


Carolyn is a Ph.D. candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, in the Economics department. She expects to complete her studies in May 2024. Carolyn earned a B.S. in Engineering Science from the University of Virginia. Before coming to Tufts, she worked in the Monetary Affairs division of the Federal Reserve Board and for the University of Notre Dame on a research study of savings and investment behavior in Uganda. Both experiences piqued her interest in using economics research to inform public policy.

Current Studies and Future Goals

When asked what she found most meaningful about her field of study, Carolyn responded with the following: “I love that economics provides an analytical framework and set of tools to rigorously evaluate the effect of a policy or intervention."

When asked what interested her in becoming a TIE Fellow, Carolyn responded with the following: “The TIE Fellowship is an exciting opportunity to pursue research that encompasses both environmental policy and economics, as well as to meet other graduate students with unique perspectives from their work on environmental issues in different fields across the university."

Fun Facts!

When not doing school work, Carolyn loves running, rock climbing, and hiking.

Favorite thing seen: Nyiragongo Volcano in Virunga National Park

Favorite place you've visited: Glacier National Park