photo cred: Sang Zhang

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Politics Department at Princeton University, specializing in comparative politics, international relations, and experimental and survey methodology. In my research, I study the consequences of migration on conflict, nationalism, and development in the global South. 

My dissertation develops a theory of migrant-driven nation-building to examine how weak borders and the pressures of forced migration can affect national and ethnic identities, public goods provision, and citizenship policy in sub-Saharan Africa. This work draws on theories of social identity to understand host citizens' reactions to groups of refugees coming and occupying the same geographic space. I take a multi-method approach by combining geo-coded observational data of displacement sites and public goods with an original survey experiment and qualitative focus groups. This research is funded by the National Science Foundation. 

Additionally, I work on statistical methods for asking sensitive survey questions. We develop designs and efficient estimation for the randomized response technique, which asks respondents to use a randomization device, such as a coin flip, whose outcome is unobserved by the enumerator. By introducing random noise, the method conceals individual responses and consequently protects respondent privacy. This research is published in the Journal of the American Statistical Association, with accompanying open source software.

I also design and implement randomized control trials (RCTs) in developing country contexts. In collaboration with Mercy Corps and Yale, we conduct the first individual-level experimental study of economic interventions in wartime. We compare the effects of a livelihood training program with unconditional cash transfers for at-risk, displaced youth on their support for combatants in Afghanistan, which we measure using indirect survey techniques. 

In collaboration with Twaweza and MIT, we investigate how self-efficacy beliefs can affect citizens' engagement in improving the quality of public education in rural East Africa. We design and test a novel, meeting-based intervention called Validated Participation which gives low-income citizens not only information but opportunities for successful deliberation and decision-making, validated by authority figures and peers. 

I am a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow, a Charlotte Elizabeth Procter honorific fellow, and a Program for Quantitative and Analytical Political Science (Q-APS) graduate student fellow. I have conducted fieldwork in Tanzania, Senegal, Ghana, and Bahrain. Prior to Princeton, I worked for the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture as a social work case manager. I received a B.A. in International Relations, Anthropology, and African Studies at NYU.

In fall 2017, I was in residence at the Immigration Policy Lab at Stanford University.

You can find my Google Scholar profile here.

My friend Lego Grad Student and I fleeing from a giant duck, created for Paluck lab.