I’m an Associate Professor at Columbia University in the School of International and Public Affairs and Political Science, and a fellow of NBER and CEPR. My office is Room 819 in IAB, 420 W 118th St, NY NY 10027.
- My CV, official bio, and Google Scholar profile
- How to contact me or sign up for my office hours
- Info for people interested in graduate study at Columbia
The questions I’m most passionate about: Why are some societies poor, violent and unequal? What leads people into poverty, violence, and crime? What events and interventions lead them out? I mainly study these questions in Africa, through field study, surveys, natural experiments, and field experiments. I talk about some of my recent work on the EconTalk and NPR Planet Money podcasts.
I have been at Columbia since July 2012. Before that, I was an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Economics at Yale. I have a PhD in Economics from UC Berkeley, a MPA/ID from Harvard’s Kennedy School, and a BA in Economics from the University of Waterloo.
In my pre-academic life I was a business consultant and (believe it or not) an accountant for Deloitte & Touche. But the best jobs I ever held were (a) rock-climbing instructor, and (b) music store salesman. (I have become considerably less cool since that time.)
In the end, though, my work ethic and habits derive from two years cooking chicken at a vaguely militant KFC outlet. After a manager resembling Hulk Hogan forces you to clean grease traps, you can handle pretty much anything.
I’m presently an adviser to the International Rescue Committee and the World Bank, and in recent years have been an adviser to the UN Peacebuilding Fund, Uganda’s Office of the Prime Minister, and Liberia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.
- Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
- Executive board member, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)
- Co-chair, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Crime sector
- Lead Academic, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), Peace & Recovery Program
- Affiliate, Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD)
- Affiliate, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
- My blogging at The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage
- Academic Lead for the Politics, Institutions and Conflict Initiative in Columbia’s Center for Development Economics and Policy (CDEP)
- Non-Resident Fellow, Center for Global Development (CGD)
- Member, International Growth Center (IGC)
- Senior Affiliate, Households in Conflict Network (HiCN)
- Member, Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP)
- Member, Scholars Strategy Network (SSN)
- Executive Committee Member, Working Group on African Political Economy (WGAPE)