I am a political economist studying developing countries, with a substantive focus on state capacity and social networks, a methodological focus on field experiments, and a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
I study how informal institutions affect the prospects and implementation of programmatic reform. A first stream of my research studies the foundations of state-building in low-capacity settings using field-experimental methods. Drawing on fieldwork in a large city in the Democratic Republic of Congo, these projects document how participation in informal institutions shapes the adoption of land property rights and how local elites can collaborate with governments to boost essential state functions. A second set of projects examines the political effects of family networks in various contexts, from promoting electoral accountability to facilitating political action within firms.
My work has been published in the American Political Science Review, the American Economic Review, and World Development.