What makes foreign aid effective at helping countries develop? Under what conditions does foreign aid shape democratic change abroad? These are the substantive questions that motivate my research in international and comparative political economy, democratization, and development.
I am Senior Lecturer of Government at the University of Essex. I am also Director of ESSEXLab, the University's social science experimental lab. Prior to joining Essex, I was Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri, Columbia. At Mizzou, I also held an Appointment at the Truman School of Public Affairs. From 2011 to 2012 I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University. I received my Ph.D. in Political Science at Penn StateUniversity in 2011. My research is published or forthcoming in International Organization, Journal of Politics, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Experimental Political Science, Review of International Organizations, World Development, European Journal of Development Research, and Oxford University Press.
My approach to studying research questions is based on a multi-methods approach. I employ cross-country time series analysis, individual-level survey data, field and survey experiments, as well as text analysis methods. I also rely on insights generated by case study analysis and extensive, open-ended interviews with foreign aid elites and aid beneficiaries. I believe it is important to leverage different types of data to test substantively interesting research questions. A multi-methods approach not only strengthens confidence in the claims we make but also opens my research to a wider audience of quantitative and qualitative scholars as well as policy-makers.
My work directly builds on insights gained through field work in international development, while working for non-governmental and international organizations. My field journey took me through the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Central Asia over a period of three years. Prior to that, I studied political science as a graduate student, receiving a M.A. from Wayne State (Detroit). The University of Munich and the University of Padova are the universities I attended as an undergraduate.