I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University.
My research specializes in comparative politics and the political economy of development. I study how inequality in political access shapes economic exchange, property rights, and formal and informal institutions, with a regional focus in sub-Saharan Africa. I have conducted fieldwork in Senegal, Niger, Mozambique, and The Gambia.
For my dissertation, I developed a theory of the contradictory role of political connections in private-sector exchange in countries with weak rule of law. To test this theory, I created and operated a firm in Senegal, and conducted a field experiment to measure the impact of political connections and formal contracts on trade. I also conducted an original survey with embedded conjoint and survey experiments among nearly 2,400 Senegalese firms.
I am a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow. My research projects have been supported by the NSF, CEPR-DFID’s Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL) initiative, J-PAL, and the SSRC, among others.
Prior to Columbia, I worked for the West African headquarters of the UN World Food Programme, and received a B.A. in Political Science and African Studies from Northwestern University.