I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Duke University (tenure track.) My academic and policy research cut across many topics and contexts, including on: (i) reducing poverty and promoting socioeconomic welfare and psychological wellbeing for the poor and at-risk youth; (ii) political economy of conflict, peacebuilding and development in fragile and war-torn countries; (iii) strengthening state capacity in fragile states through reforming the civil service and traditional institutions; and (iv) promoting women’s empowerment through socioeconomic inclusion and political participation. I have also been conducting (v) COVID-19 research, leveraging previous or ongoing research to in investigate how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses as well as households’ welfare and well-being in efforts to help inform policies and strategies to mitigate the pandemic’s deleterious effects.
Prior to joining the Duke Faculty, I was an Economist at the World Bank’s Development Economics Vice-Presidency (DEC), in its Development Impact Evaluation Department (DIME), where I helped establish and led the Evidence for Peace (E4P) program. This is an innovative research program on Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV) whose main goal was to provide evidence-based guide to policy action and projects’ mid-course correction, while addressing critical knowledge gaps identified in the World Development Report (WDR) 2014 (see E4P/FCV program blurb here). At its peak, the E4P program a portfolio of over 40 impact evaluation studies, which covers over $2.5 billion of FCV operations in 25 countries and has about $35 million in research funding. I was also the World Bank’s Institutional Representative at the Experiments in Governance and Politics (EGAP), a global research, evaluation, and learning network that promotes rigorous knowledge accumulation, innovation, and evidence-based policy in various governance and accountability domains.
Prior to joining DEC/DIME, I worked in the Word Bank’s Africa Gender Innovation Lab (GIL), where I provided technical assistance in the design and implementation of gender programs in Sub-Saharan Africa. I was also a Democracy Fellow with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), where I developed rigorous impact evaluations and analytical work of US Government programs in the Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG) sector. Finally, prior to joining the World Bank, I consulted for the United Nations (UN) Secretariat, where I led impact evaluations of UN peacekeeping operations in Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia using local population surveys, as part of a broader evaluation of these operations’ performance by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).
I hold a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University (2014), with focus on international security/relations, political economy, and comparative politics. I have taught, given talks and written extensively about the aforementioned research areas for many years and my research has been published in the Journal of Development Economics (JDE); the Review of Economics and Statistics (REStat); the BMJ Global Health; the Quarterly Journal of Political Science (QJPS); the World Politics (WP); the World Development (WD); the Journal of Conflict Resolution (JCR); the Journal of Peace Research (JPR); and the Comparative Political Studies (CPS), among other outlets.