Professor Yannitell Reinhardt’s work examines how decision-making under uncertainty affects the distribution of wealth in society. She focuses her work on the political economy of foreign aid, economic and social development, and the political and policy implications of disasters. This pursuit has drawn her inquiry in fascinating directions. Gina has studied race, trust, and migration; the construction of trust by the media across levels of government; and how the allocation of foreign aid conditions its performance effectiveness.
How do people make decisions when uncertain about one or more elements of a situation? Perhaps they do not have complete information about another actor’s motives, about their own surroundings, or about the future. Available information can come from varying sources. Do different people make their decisions in varying ways, even when considering the same information? Do they get their information from different sources? How do the situational context, personal preferences, and past experiences change these decisions?
These are just a few of the questions Reinhardt has explored in her research. Her work on foreign aid and development delves into multiple facets of the aid-development link by examining how decision-makers, faced with limited resources and information about competitors, allocate and implement funds. Her investigations with disaster evacuees explore how uncertainty in crisis situations allows different sources of information to step in and form public opinion regarding political trust and safety. Reinhardt’s most recent work has revealed intriguing insights, including:
How do local authorities and other public service organisations ensure that their programs are cost-effective and deliver the right outcomes for their citizens? I have been working with my team to develop metrics and tools to conduct impact evaluations of current and past projects. I have also been leading on development of a generic impact evaluation tool that could be applied by local governments seeking to streamline their impact evaluation practices.
Throughout her work, Gina is committed to maintaining the highest levels of methodological rigor and using the most appropriate tools to answer each specific question. To those ends, she has published work relating to statistical methods and the application of games to practical research. She is currently working on a piece exploring the difference between intentions and beliefs v. behavior and actions in crisis-simulating experiments. Her work has found that:
Reinhardt was recently invited to join the prestigious AidData Research Consortium (ARC), a group of over 100 scholars performing cutting-edge research on development using geocoded data to support evidenced-based policy decisions. Gina is part of the humanitarian assistance and disaster mitigation group, where she will take part in creating a unique new data set that allows views of disasters and disaster relief on sub-national levels around the world over time. From here she will have the opportunity to launch her new research agenda, where she combines her work on disasters with that on development, to continue to pursue questions regarding uncertainty, decision making, and political economy.