I’m an associate professor of public policy at University College London's School of Public Policy/Department of Political Science. My research focuses on the relationship between organizational structure, management practice, and performance in developing country governments and organizations that provide foreign aid. My work is currently focused primarily on "Mission-Driven Bureaucrats", exploring the relationship between motivation, management practice, and performance in Bangladesh, Ghana, Thailand, and the US amongst other places. I also have ongoing projects related to transparency, accountability, and public performance. I'm a non-resident fellow at the Center for Global Development, a fellow of Harvard's Building State Capability Program & Johns Hopkins SAIS' Foreign Policy Institute, a member of the Scholars Strategy Network, and on the editorial board of the Journal of Public Policy. In 2021 I was named one of Apolitical's 100 most influential academics in government.
From 2015-2021 I was an assistant professor of international development at Johns Hopkins SAIS, and have also previously held visiting appointments at Thammasat University (Bangkok)'s Department of Economics, Leiden University (Netherlands') Institute of Political Science, and the West Africa Research Center in Dakar. Outside the academy I was 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 through agricultural entrepreneurship (East Timor); and have worked for a number of local and international NGOs. I've lived, worked, and/or done research in Bangladesh, East Timor, Ghana, India, Israel, Liberia, The Netherlands, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Thailand, the UK, and the USA. A proud Detroiter, I hold a BA from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
If you're looking for data or info on my 2018 book Navigation by Judgment: Why and When Top-Down Control of Foreign Aid Won't Work, scroll down for a description of the work. Those looking to download the public Project Performance Database (PPD), to my knowledge the world's largest database of aid project outcomes across multiple organizations, can find it at the bottom of this page.