I’m the Ramalee E. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies at The University of Chicago, in the Harris School of Public Policy, as well as a research associate at NBER. My office is in 1155 E 60th St, Chicago, IL 60637.
- My CV, official bio, and Google Scholar profile
- How to contact me
- Columbia students can also 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 and Latin America, 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 the University of Chicago since 2016. Before that, I was an Associate Professor of International Affairs and Political Science at Columbia University, and 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.
- Research Associate, 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
- Fellow, Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD)
- Affiliate, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
- Research Fellow, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
- My blogging at The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage
- 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)