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European University Institute Department of Social and Political Sciences



assistant: Monika Rzemieniecka


mailing address: 9 Via della Badia dei Roccettini, 50014 Fiesole FI, Italy

Office location: Badia Fiesolana BF263


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I am the Peter Mair Chair of Comparative Politics in the Department of Social and Political Sciences at the European University Institute. Prior to my 2019 move to the EUI, I taught at the University of California at Los Angeles.


I was educated at the University of California at Berkeley, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Cornell University.  My research is in the area of political economy. I have conducted field research on issues of corruption and political malfeasance in Europe, Asia, and Africa.  My work has been honored with the Jewell-Loewenberg Prize, the Lawrence Longley Award, the Gregory A. Leubbert Book Award (runner-up), a Choice Award, and the Gabriel A. Almond Award for the best dissertation in comparative politics. It has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), UK's Department for International Development (DfID), and the International Growth Center (ICG). 


I am currently engaged in a large-scale study of how and when politicians secure reelection. A first publication from this project, co-authored with Eugenia Nazrullaeva, appeared asThe Puzzle of Clientelism: Political Discretion and Elections Around the World in 2023 in Cambridge University Press' Elements in Political Economy series. My most recent book prior to that was Corruption: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2017), written with economist Raymond Fisman. My current field-based research concerns political responsiveness in Pakistan, on which I have an on-going collaboration with Saad Gulzar. Finally, with Alex Scacco and subsequently Tara Slough, I co-chaired the COVID-19 Model Challenges project. 

Annually, I teach two graduate seminars at the EUI. The core course in comparative politics (team-taught with Simon Hix) introduces students to topics in the subfield. The Practicum in Reproducible Research Methods walks students through all the steps involved in a complex collaborative reproducible research project and provides instruction in the skills required to successfully execute modern social scientific research. 

I am an Associate Member of Nuffield College at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. I have been a Visiting Senior Scholar at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University and a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. I am an affiliate of the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) of the University of California at Berkeley, a Research Fellow in Political Economy at the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP), and an active member of Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP). I am an invited researcher to J-PAL's Governance Initiative.  Long a proponent of research transparency and replicability, I am a BITSS Catalyst with the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences and have assembled multiple data sets that are available in the public domain on Dataverse.

With my EUI colleagues Elias Dinas, Simon Hix, and Filip Kostella, I sponsor the Comparative Politics Seminar Series, which meets weekly on Thursdays and is open to the EUI community. I am also the EUI's representative to the CIVICA Data Science Seminar Series, an interdisciplinary series that meets biweekly on Zoom. 

A recent interview with me is available at Scientia Futura. 

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