Thank you for visiting my webpage, which for now aims to present an overview of my academic and policy research.
My research is broadly motivated by an interest in understanding the sources of differentials in living standards between countries and between people within countries. Over time, this has been sharpened into an interest in the study of the relationship between institutions and economic development and of how poorly functioning governance institutions may be reformed to produce more equitable policy outcomes. I am particularly interested in the design and testing of interventions to improve the quality of governance in post-conflict environments.
In 2006 - 07, I worked with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the World Bank to design a study that would deliver unbiased estimates of the effects of an ambitious, nationwide program that sought to improve the quality of local governance in rural Afghanistan and the access of villagers to basic services and infrastructure. The resulting study randomized the allocation of the National Solidarity Programme (NSP), Afghanistan's largest development program, across 500 villages in northern, eastern, western, and central Afghanistan. Data for the study was generated by four waves of household interviews across these 500 villages between 2007 and 2011, which I oversaw.
In papers with Fotini Christia, Ruben Enikolopov, and Georgy Egorov, data from the NSP study has been applied to identify the effects of externally-imposed micro-institutional reforms - and of variations of those reforms - on local governance, state-building outcomes, and behavioral norms. More information on the project, which has been supported by the Government of Afghanistan, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, and the World Bank, can be found on the project website.
During my time in Afghanistan leading the NSP impact evaluation, I also oversaw the design and implementation of a prospective impact evaluation of the National Rural Access Program. Prior to my work in Afghanistan, I co-authored a comparative study of the investment climates of Brazil, India, and South Africa, contributed to a book on globalization and development with Ian Goldin and Kenneth Reinert, co-authored an entry on migration for the Princeton Encyclopedia of the World Economy, and taught a course on the history and theory of economic development at Harvard College over several years between 2001 and 2006. In my more intrepid youthful days, I also spent some time teaching at Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia, working with the National Assembly of Cambodia, and interning at the Bulgarian National Bank.
In addition to the NSP study, I have led the design and/or implementation of randomized or quasi-experimental impact evaluations of community development projects in India, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. I am currently leading a study of marginalized sub-populations in East Asia, for which we have commissioned primary mixed-methods surveys in Laos and the Philippines.
I hold a Ph.D from the Department of Government at Harvard University (advised by James A. Robinson), an M.P.A. in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School (advised by Lant Pritchett), and a B.A. in Economics from Illinois Wesleyan University (advised by Michael Seeborg). I can be reached at albeath[at]gmail[dot]com