I am a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, where I study the political economy of migration, conflict and development. My research draws on case studies, quantitative analysis and formal theory to explore a complex set of political and economic phenomena that link migration to political violence, development and international aid.
I received a PhD in Political Science from Harvard University in May 2017. My dissertation, “Aid, Violence, and Migration: Three Essays on the Transnational Implications of Refugee Policy,” focuses on responses to refugees primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. The dissertation argues that a country’s response to refugee flows, or other displacement, from another country’s civil war is often strategic foreign policy. Humanitarian policy responses—like the location of a camp or the distribution of food aid—provide or withold resources or technology to parties in an ongoing civil war. Therefore, features of refugee policy are simultaneously tools of intervention in civil war. Building on extensive scholarship on resources in transnational civil war, the dissertation provides theory and evidence that the extent of political violence and out-migration from civil war is determined not only by resources, but also technology—the efficiency with which parties in a civil war fight or generate income. By altering the availability of resources or conflict technology in the civil war, refugee policy can facilitate or truncate rebellion and thus, increase or decrease violence and subsequent displacement.
My field experience includes work in Tanzania, Kenya, and Australia. I have worked on and lead consulting teams for international, government, and private sector organizations, contributing expertise on migration, development, and program evaluation. My ongoing research includes an examination of violence and refugee flight from Burundi and, with Nils Hagerdah, a study on the return of displaced Christians in Lebanon.
I have a MPP from the Harris School of Public Policy and a Bachelor’s degree from the College at the University of Chicago. Before graduate school I worked in the non-profit sector in the United States and in development in Tanzania.