Shari Eli

Director, Undergraduate Program in Public Policy
Director, People's History Lab
Associate Professor, Munk School
Associate Professor, Department of Economics
Headshot of Shari Eli


Main Bio

Shari Eli is an associate professor of economics at the University of Toronto and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.  Her fields of research are economic history, health economics and demography. One section of her research explores the ways in which individuals of low socioeconomic status used cash transfers to improve their health status over the course of the lifecycle. Another section explores the intergenerational persistence of welfare receipt as well as the relationship between social assistance and marriage decisions.  Her work has been featured in The New York Times, National Public Radio, the Financial Post and the CBC, among other outlets, and she has publications in academic journals including the American Economic Review, Journal of Economic History and Journal of Economic Literature.  The National Institutes of Health, Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Social Science Humanities and Research Council have awarded grants to fund her research.

She received her Ph.D. in economics from U.C. Berkeley in 2011 and has been on faculty at the University of Toronto ever since.

Select publications


  • "Do Youth Employment Programs Work? Evidence from the New Deal" with Anna Aizer, Guido Imbens, Keyoung Lee, Adriana Lleras-Muney; NBER Working Paper #27103. Revise and Resubmit at The Quarterly Journal of Economics.
  • "Measurement of Socioeconomic Status in the Canadian Census, 1871- 1901" with Nicholas Li and Janki Shah, requested at Historical Methods.
  • “The Model T” with Joshua Hausman and Paul Rhode - resubmitted to The Journal of Economic History.
  • "The Incentive Effects of Cash Transfers to the Poor" with Anna Aizer, Sungwoo Cho and Adriana Lleras-Muney, AEJ: Applied Economics, April 2024.
  • "The Enduring Effects of Racial Discrimination on Income and Health: Evidence from American Civil War Veterans" with Trevon Logan and Boriana Miloucheva (2019), The Journal of Economic Literature, September 2023.
  •  "Transportation Revolution: The Car in the 1920s" with Joshua Hausman and Paul Rhode, The American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings, May 2022. 
  • "Caloric Requirements and Food Consumption Patterns of the Poor" with Nicholas Li, The World Bank Economic Review, July 2020.
  • "Ideology and Migration After the American Civil War" with Laura Salisbury and Allison Shertzer - The Journal of Economic History, September 2018.
  • "Patronage Politics and the Development of the Welfare State: Evidence from Confederate Pensions in the U.S. South" with Laura Salisbury - The Journal of Economic History, December 2016. 
  • "The Long Run Impact of Cash Transfers to Poor Families" with Anna Aizer, Joseph Ferrie and Adriana Lleras-Muney, The American Economic Review, April 2016.
  • "Income Effects on Health: Evidence from Union Army Pensions." The Journal of Economic History, June 2015. 

Work in Progress

  • "The Multigenerational Persistence of Welfare Receipt" with Laura Salisbury
  • “The Emergence of the Modern Welfare System: Evidence from the Mothers’ Pension Program” with Price Fishback, Niketana Kannan, Adriana Lleras-Muney and James Uguccioni
  • “The Long Run Impact of Cash Transfers to Poor Families: New Estimates using Larger Samples and New Methods” with Anna Aizer, Sungwoo Cho, Joseph Ferrie and Adriana Lleras-Muney.


Book Review

  • "Review of Unprotected Labor: Household Workers, Politics, and Middle Class Reform in New York 1870-1940."  The Journal of Economic History. September 2013: 888-890.