Dr. Alison Cathles

Affiliated Researcher

Research group(s):
1. Economics of Knowledge and Innovation
4. Governance and institutions

Alison Cathles is an affiliated researcher at UNU-MERIT.  She holds a PhD in Innovation, Economics and Governance for Development from UNU-MERIT / Maastricht University and a Master’s in Public Administration and Public Policy from the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA) at Cornell University.  She currently works as a freelance consultant for international organizations.  Before joining UNU-MERIT, she worked at the Inter-American Development Bank in the Competitiveness and Innovation division.  Previous work experience includes: collaboration on research projects and research assistance for Cornell’s Office for Research on Evaluation and for David Harrington at Kenyon College; workforce development at the YMCA in Boston, Massachusetts; direct support professional at a vocational training center with developmentally disabled adults and service in Envirocorps/Americorps in Portland, Oregon.  

Since joining UNU-MERIT she has worked as a researcher for IZA, tutored courses at the bachelor’s level, supervised and advised master’s students on their thesis projects, and given a few guest lectures on the topics of Innovation and Evaluation for bachelor’s and master’s classes.

Her research is focused on the role of vocational education in economic growth and innovation in education and skills training programs.  Broadly speaking, her main research interest is in the evolution of opportunities and challenges specific to developing skills in parallel with the technological changes taking place in the world around us.

Selected publications by Alison Cathles

Articles (journal, professional, popular)
Cathles, Alison, 2020, Sources of Data on Digital Talent in Latin America and the Caribbean, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18235/0002351, More information
Cathles, Alison & Juan Carlos Navarro, 2019, Disrupting Talent: The Emergence of Coding Bootcamps and the Future of Digital Skills, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18235/0001651, More information

Book chapters
Ortega, Leonardo, Alison Cathles & Matteo Grazzi, 2017, E-Commerce and Productivity: Evidence from Chile, in: Editors: Kaur H., Lechman E., Marszk A. , Catalyzing Development through ICT Adoption, Springer, Cham, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-56523-1_13, More information
Cathles, Alison & Siobhan Pangerl, 2016, Different Obstacles for Different Productivity Levels? An Analysis of Caribbean Firms, in: Matteo Grazzi and Carlo Pietrobelli (eds), Firm Innovation and Productivity in Latin America and the Caribbean, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, More information

UNU-MERIT Working Papers
Cathles, Alison, 2016, New variables for vocational secondary schooling: Patterns around the world from 1950-2010, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2016-002

External working papers
Cathles, Alison, Drew Gardiner, Micheline Goedhuys, Chen Gong, Michelle Gonzalez Amador & Eleonora Nillesen, 2020, Youth Aspirations and the Future of Work: A Review of the Literature and Evidence, ILO working paper #8, More information
Cathles, Alison, Gaurav Nayyar & Désirée Rückert, 2020, Digital technologies and firm performance: Evidence from Europe. EIB Working Paper 2020/06, More information
Veen, Tom van, Alison Cathles, Ou Dongshu, Simone Sasso & Mary Setrana, 2018, Where Do You Come from, where Do You Go? Assessing Skills Gaps and LabourMarket Outcomes of Young Adults with Different Immigration Backgrounds, More information
Cathles, Alison & Jo Ritzen, 2017, Money Counts, But so Does Timing: Public Investment and Adult Competencies , IZA Discussion Paper No. 10565, More information
Cathles, Alison, 2014, Entrepreneurship Data for Latin America and the Caribbean: What Is There and What Is Missing?, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Technical Note No. IDB-TN-729, More information

Conference contributions
Cathles, Alison & Adam Szirmai, 2017, 'Breaking Apart Human Capital: The Role of Vocational Education in Economic Growth', Conference of Midwest Economic Association, Cincinnati, 31 March -2 April, 2017
Cathles, Alison & Jo Ritzen, 2016, Educational Investments and Adult Competencies, WUN Economics Workshop 2016, Maastricht University , More information

Cathles, Alison, 2019, Educational Pathways and Skills: Past, Present and Future, PhD dissertation Maastricht University / United Nations University, More information