I am Professor of Development Economics in the Faculty of Economics and Administration at Malaya University where until recently I additionally held the post of Deputy Director at the Centre for Poverty and Development Studies (CPDS). I am also a visiting researcher at SKOPE (Dept of Education, University of Oxford), visiting Fellow in Economics at Reading University, visiting Professorial Fellow (Hon.) at the University of Manchestervisiting Professor at the Mindanao State University (MSU) and Chulalongkorn University (College of Population Studies)research member of the Centre on Effective States and Inclusive Development (ESID), Research Fellow at the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, Southeast Asia Lead of the Global Labor Organization, and RSA connector for Bangladesh. Previously I have worked at Reading University as an assistant professor of Economics, BRAC (research and evaluation division) as a Distinguished Fellow, BRAC University (BIGD) as a Senior Fellow and have held visiting positions at Harvard University (Centre for International development) and Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS). Currently I am also a Fellow of the ESRC Peer Review Collegeadviser to the Conversation Globalan honorary research adviser to BRAC International (Afghanistan), Academic Editor of PLOS One, Co-Editor of BMC Public Health, Associate Editor of the Journal of Human Development and CapabilitiesCo-Editor of the Asia Pacific Education Reviewand on the editorial advisory board of 4 academic journals - Journal of Public AffairsCOMPARE (Journal of International and Comparative Education) International Journal of Educational Development (IJED), Talim: Journal of Education in Muslim Societies and Communities and Malaysian Economic Journal

My research interests include development economics, economics of education and labor economics. Current research draws upon data from South and South-East Asia and focuses on issues such as inter-generational economic mobility, subjective well-being, causes and consequence of extreme poverty, inequality of opportunity, quality of secondary schools and the rise of Islamic schools (aka madrasahs), and the low level of student learning in schools. I am collaborating with Professor Zaki Wahhaj of Kent University to study the long-run impact of secondary education on female labor force participation, beliefs and attitudes, financial literacy, intra-household and marriage outcomes. The project is funded by AUSAID. Other current projects include research on well-being, skills and aspirations of workers in Bangladesh's apparel industry (in collaboration with Macquarie University), NGO led interventions to tackle the problem of early marriage and girls' education in Bangladesh and Afghanistan (in collaboration with BRAC) and private provision of public services (in collaboration with the World Bank).

I've held resident and research project assignments in 10 countries across the Middle East (Jordan), Far East (Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam), South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan) and Africa (Ethiopia, Nigeria). 

I have recently completed a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship (UK) on the rise of Islamic schools in Bangladesh. This is based on arguably the largest field survey on state-aided secondary schools and madrasas in the country. The study was sponsored by the World Bank. I continue to work on this topic. Issues covered include causes of madrasa attendance, reasons for female enrolment in registered madrasas, learning disadvantage associated with madrassa attendance, impact on gender attitudes, location choice of madrasas, their share in the market for secondary school going children and worldview of madrasa teachers. This research has recently featured on Al Jazeera. Most recently I have completed the first-ever global assessment of education quality in Islamic (OIC) countries.

For further details on these works, please click on "publications"
For further details on externally funded projects, please visit "funded research projects"
For further details on "research work in progress", please visit "ongoing research work"  Getting in touch

You can contact me using any of the following email addresses:

University of Malaya email id: m.niaz at um.edu.my
University of Reading email id: m.asadullah at reading.ac.uk
University of Oxford email id: mohammad.asadullah at education.ox.ac.uk