I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard with a background in comparative politics and the political economy of development. My research interests are in state capacity and government performance, the relationship between civil society/third sector actors and democratic accountability, the politics of education, bureaucratic behavior and corruption, food politics, private governance and the ethical certification of supply chains, inequality and distributional politics, the ethics and politics of global philanthropy, and multi-method research design. Many of the questions I study center around what happens when non-state actors take on functions traditionally or legally marked as state functions.
My dissertation research examines the impact of NGOs on state social service provision in India, focusing especially on the education sector. I have published articles on the intellectual history of the civil society concept and its relevance to empirical studies of development, and on the private-sector substitutes for effective state regulatory enforcement in developing countries with weakly enforced labor and environmental regulations. I have been involved in other research focusing on cocoa farming in Ghana, consumer demand for Fair Trade-certified products in the U.S., child labor and conditional cash transfer in Brazil, the political and institutional blind spots of the Effective Altruism philanthropy movement, and the advent of child labor laws during the British Industrial Revolution.
Previously at Harvard, I have taught sections of the Sophomore Tutorial on Democracy, Indian Politics, and International Law, and I was the Departmental Writing Fellow for the Government Department in 2012-13. I serve on the Diversity Working Group in the Government Department at Harvard. My research has been supported by the Ash Center, the Kennedy, Knox, and Sheldon Fellowship, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.
Prior to graduate school, I spent five years working in the fields of international development, Fair Trade, and conflict resolution. I received my B.A. in Political Science from Swarthmore College in 2003.