I am an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at Clark University. Much of my current research focuses on the impact of violence and crime on the development process. With respect to the effect of large scale violence, I have collected a unique data set of young men, including formerly abducted children, in Northern Uganda. This project resamples the SWAY sample from Blattman and Annan. I supervised the data collection using a National Science Foundation grant. Within Northern Uganda, I am collaborating with KICWA (Kitgum Concerned Women's Association), an NGO that has been working with formerly abducted children and their families since 1998. The research is being done in collaboration with Cornell and Columbia Universities. . The data is currently being used to examine the lasting effects of exposure to violence and traumatic events on behavioral parameters (and their stability to fear) and the lasting effects of violence on political participation. While this phenomenon has been found in several settings, the lasting effects have never been studied. By following up on Blattman's "From Violence to Voting" sample, it will be possible to examine whether the effect persists and for whom.
Another strand of my research focuses on the impacts of crime, particularly through the political process. For instance, politician/bureaucratic quality is believed to influence economic outcomes. Using data from India, along with co-authors the University of Connecticut and Youngstown State, I examine the impact of electing criminally accused politicians on constituency-level outcomes. Using a regression discontinuity design, we find a strong and robust negative effect which increases with accusations linked to financial crimes. Looking at the impact of crime through a different angle, along with a co-author at the University of Pittsburgh, I re-examine recent work linking exposure to crime to political participation. We find that the (previously omitted effect of the) fear of crime explains much of the effect attributed to crime. These finding imply a potentially important effect to instability with strong spillovers irrespective of individual level exposure.
Previously, I finished my PhD at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. My dissertation focuses on the effect of the risk of violence on livelihoods during conflicts. In particular, the dissertation:
(1) provides the first quantitative measures of risk of violence and of its aggregate effect on consumption
(2) uses data from more than 600,000 households to examine how households respond to the risk of violence. The results suggest that much of the costs arise from ex ante re-allocation of livestock and crop portfolios as well from shifts in labor allocation.
(3) uses the first panel data on household perceptions of insecurity to examine its dynamic effects
Upcoming conference presentations: 2015 World Bank Annual Bank Conference on Africa (ABCA), Berkeley June 6-8.