Nilmini Herath

I am a PhD Economics candidate at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a Research Fellow at the Vaccine Confidence Project, which is based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. I’m doing a PhD relatively late in life, so my research builds on the extensive professional experience that I’ve amassed in development economics research/policy work and in mathematical modelling.

My research explores the role that social networks (technological and otherwise) play in transmitting information, and the influence that networks have on beliefs, decisions and wellbeing. Applications from current work-in-progress include how social networks influence perceptions of vaccine safety, navigation of the labour market and polarization of views. I use mathematical modelling and (mostly RCT-based) impact evaluation methods to explore these topics. In practice this means I spend a lot of time playing with graphs and adjacency matrices in code and equations, and a lot of time working with people ‘on the ground’, whether field research staff, policymakers or implementing organisations.

I work closely with enormously talented people from J-PAL Africa at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where I was employed for many of my pre-PhD years, heading up their research vertical.

When I’m not doing/communicating research or teaching, you’ll find me raising a young child, travelling, trying to be a better cook, doing something visually creative or just trying to get some rest and balance. Sometime between all of that I’ll try to put more information on this website about my research, policy work and teaching.

In the meantime, you can reach me at n.s.herath [at] or find my LSE bio here and my LSHTM bio here.