Pablo Balán

Welcome to my website! I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University. I study the political economy of developing countries, with a substantive focus on state capacity and social networks, a methodological focus on field experiments, and a regional focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

A first stream of my research studies the foundations of state-building in low-capacity settings using field-experimental methods. Drawing on fieldwork in a large city in the Democratic Republic of Congo, these projects document how participation in informal institutions shape the adoption of land property rights and how local elites can collaborate with governments to boost essential state functions. A second set of projects examines the political effects of family networks in various contexts, from promoting electoral accountability to facilitating political action within firms. My work has been published in the American Political Science Review.

Before coming to Harvard, I received a BA in Political Science from Universidad de San Andrés and an MA in Political Science from Universidad Torcuato Di Tella. I also co-authored a general-audience book on political development in Argentina, my home country. I am affiliated with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS), Evidence for Governance and Policy (EGAP), and Evidence for Policy Design (EPOD). This year I am a pre-doctoral visiting scholar at the Penn Development Research Initiative. You can find a copy of my CV here.