Stuart Russell

Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Political Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Curriculum Vitae

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

I am broadly interested in the political economy of international development with a substantive focus on bureaucracies and a regional focus on francophone West Africa. My dissertation project analyzes the politics of public procurement in Burkina Faso. I am particularly interested in the strategies political elites use to manipulate the procurement system and finance political campaigns.

Most of my research projects leverage large, administrative datasets scraped from government records. For instance, as part of my dissertation project, I am building a database of publicly available procurement records in Burkina. I also have training in randomized experiments, behavioral games, and survey design.

My research has been funded by the MIT GOVLAB, the MIT Center for International Studies and the MIT Political Methodology Lab. Beyond MIT, my research has been generously supported by the West Africa Research Association and the Open Contracting Partnership.

I have a B.A. from Swarthmore College in political science and economics. Prior to starting graduate school, I worked for the public health non-profit Population Services International in Dakar, Senegal and the Center for International Development at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.

Since starting graduate school, I have interned for IDinsight and the Development Impact Evaluation group at the World Bank. I am fluent in French and have lived and worked in France, Senegal, and Morocco. I have also conducted extensive field work in many countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

Working papers

Who gets Hired? Patronage and Bureaucratic Favoritism
Co-authored with Mai Hassan (MIT) and Horacio Larreguy (ITAM)
Under Review

Research in progress

The Spoils of the State: Public Procurement and the Politics of Political Finance in Burkina Faso

Money in the Bank: Horizontal Accountability and "Underspending" in Burkina Faso

Racial Quotas in the Brazilian Civil Service
Co-authored with F. Daniel Hidalgo (MIT)

Public Finance and Local Government Budgets in Kenya
Co-authored with Mai Hassan (MIT)