- My CV and a boring official bio
- How to contact me or sign up for my office hours
- My research, policy writing and ongoing projects
- My teaching and advising
- Info for people interested in graduate study at Columbia
- My Google Scholar profile
The questions I’m most passionate about: Why are some societies poor, violent and unequal? What leads people into poverty and violence? What events and interventions lead them out? I mainly study these questions in Africa, through field study, surveys, natural experiments, and field experiments.
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.
- Affiliate, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)
- Non-Resident Fellow, Center for Global Development (CGD)
- Faculty Member, Yale Economic Growth Center (EGC)
- Member, International Growth Center (IGC)
- Senior Affiliate, Households in Conflict Network (HiCN)
- Member, Experiments in Governance and Politics (EGAP)
- Member, Scholars Strategy Network