In large parts of the world the reach of the state is limited. Instead, traditional institutions and development agencies structure local governance. My research explores the determinants, role and impact of governance structures in areas where the state is weak. I use statistics and fieldwork to study these questions. See my research page for more.

I am an assistant professor of political science at New York University – Abu Dhabi. I received a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University, and an M.Phil. in economics cum laude from Tilburg University.

My work appears in Political Analysis, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, the Journal of Development Studies, Social Science and Medicine and has been written about in the Financial Times and by the UN Secretary General.


The photo at the top of the page was made in a village in Eastern Congo. It comes with a nice story. The other photo shows my research team, a nyuba kumi, a village elder, the village chief, and me. I collected data for my dissertation in this village (more here).