About me

Chris Blattman

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.

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.

Other affiliations: