My research investigates the political economy of governance and environmental management in developing countries. One main strand of my research addresses the ways that foreign donors can support better environmental management in the countries where they work. My recent book Giving Aid Effectively examines when and why member states and civil society groups can make the multilateral development banks, which manage approximately half of all international development finance, responsive to their environmental performance. Other recent projects investigate when foreign aid catalyzes private sector investment in emerging technologies, when externally-financed institution building persists over time, and how remotely sensed data can be used as part of geospatial impact evaluation to improve the evidence behind environment and development interventions.
Another main strand of my research investigates experimentally the effects of transparency on governance and political accountability. I am currently leading or co-leading several field experiments that investigate when information about the programmatic performance of politicians changes vote choice, whether citizen-source data on public services can improve governance of urban public services, how transparency encourages citizen action to seek accountability from governments, and why national-level transparency rating programs affect the actions of local governments. All of these field experiments are designed and implemented through strong partnerships with implementing agencies around the world.