Pablo Balán

Welcome to my website! I am a political economist studying 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.

I study how informal institutions affect political development. 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 or is forthcoming in the American Political Science Review and the American Economic Review. Before pursuing graduate studies, I co-authored a general-audience book on political development in Argentina, my home country.

I obtained my PhD from the Department of Government at Harvard University in July 2021. At Harvard, I have been affiliated with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS), and Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD). This year I am a visiting scholar at the Penn Development Research Initiative.

In January 2022, I will be joining Tel Aviv University as Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the School of Political Science, Government, and International Affairs.

Curriculum Vitae