Clair Null is an assistant professor of global health at Emory University. Trained as a development economist but working in close collaboration with epidemiologists and environmental microbiologists, she focuses her research on issues related to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) in sub-Saharan Africa. Her projects deal with three broad groups of topics: identifying and quantifying behaviors that lead to contact with fecal contamination in the environment, exploring factors that influence decision making related to WaSH investments and behaviors, and evaluating the consequences of household- and community-level WaSH conditions with a particular focus on children’s health and developmental outcomes.
During the fellowship year, Null is expanding her research, applying ideas from behavioral economics to WaSH challenges including the low take-up of chlorine for point-of-use water treatment, hand washing with soap, and safe disposal of children’s feces. These new approaches address the importance of short-run costs, convenience, and salience in influencing preventative health behaviors and will be tested as part of the WaSH Benefits Study, the largest and most ambitious cluster-randomized trial of WaSH interventions to date.
Null holds a PhD in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Berkeley. She received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation and was one of the US Department of Education’s Jacob K. Javits Fellows. More recently, her research has been supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, and the World Bank, among others.