I'm currently a PhD candidate in Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where I investigate ways in which organizational structure and staff incentives affect the performance of bureaucracies and bureaucrats in the public sector. I'm qualified in Political Economy (primary field) and Organizational and Bureaucratic Behavior (secondary field), and am a fellow in Harvard's Inequality and Social Policy program as well as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow.
I believe that individuals are an understudied part of the public sector/public agency production process, and in general I seek ways to understand the preferences, behaviors, and motivations of these individuals and how they relate to the achievement of agency goals. In addition to my dissertation I'm exploring the ways in which employees of different agency types differ in their behavioral profiles(risk aversion, trust, etc.) and how different contracting modalities yield differential agent performance in a variety of contexts. I'm also interested more broadly in understudied corners of human motivation and how such motivations aggregate into social behavior; in this vein I also have an ongoing project examining the economic foundations (and efficiencies) of ethnic and religious discrimination in Nigeria.
My dissertation focuses on the relationship between staff autonomy and organizational performance in international development organizations and explores the way in which these effects are mediated by different developing country contexts. My central hypothesis is that organizations which devolve more control to the field will perform better given the unpredictable nature of development work, with increasing returns to devolution in more fragile states and less measurable environments. I investigate this via quantitative (large-N statistical analysis and surveys) and qualitative (case study) methods.
I've held a variety of positions in international development, serving in a variety of capacities. I was the special assistant, then advisor, to successive Ministers of Finance (Liberia); ran a local nonprofit focused on helping post-conflict youth realize the power of their own ideas to better their lives and communities through agricultural entrepreneurship (East Timor); and have worked for a number of local and international NGOs (e.g. Ashoka in Thailand; Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development in Israel). More on my work can be found in my CV, linked in the menu above. A proud Detroiter, I hold an Honors BA from the University of Michigan and did MA coursework at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School.