Jean-Marie Baland is a Professor at the Department of Economics of the University of Namur. He belongs to the Center for Research on Development Economics (CRED). His research interests include the analysis of informal institutions in less developed economies and the consequences of poverty. His most recent research projects include the impact and the sustainability of microcredit organisations (mainly in India); the economic impact of electoral corruption; the microeconomic determinants of the deforestation in the Himalaya and the analysis of solidarity networks in Africa. In the past, he has done field work on informal groups in the slum of Kibera in Kenya, on the functioning of land markets in Uganda, on deforestation in the Indian Himalayas and on self-help groups in India. Since 2009, he benefits from an ERC advanced grant in support of his research on social capital and informal contracts.