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James Robinson is David Florence Professor of Government at Harvard University and a faculty associate at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. He studied economics at the London School of Economics, the University of Warwick and Yale University. He previously taught in the Department of Economics at the University of Melbourne, the University of Southern California and before moving to Harvard was a Professor in the Departments of Economics and Political Science at the University of California at Berkeley. His main research interests are in comparative economic and political development with a focus on the long-run with a particular interest in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. He is currently conducting research in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Haiti and in Colombia where he has taught for many years during the summer at the University of the Andes in Bogotá.

Professor Robinson is a member of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research's program on Institutions, Organizations and Growth .