Go Back

Raúl Sánchez de la Sierra

Assistant Professor

Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago

Raúl Sánchez de la Sierra is an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. His research tackles problems in the economics of development, political economy, and conflict. Where the state is weak, social phenomena emerge that elicit drivers of human behavior that are fundamental, but for which there is little empirical evidence. He conducts most of his research in areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where the central state is especially weak. There, he looks at the organization of society, the economics and psychology of armed groups, the emergence of state functions, and the economics of organized corruption working closely with these actors, while also gathering detailed data for statistical analysis.


Sánchez de la Sierra earned his PhD in economics from Columbia University in 2014. He holds an MS in development economics from Sciences-Po, Paris and a BS in economics from Carlos III Madrid, in conjunction with the Ludwig-Maximilians Universitaet of Munich.  Prior to joining Harris, Sánchez de la Sierra was Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley, in the political economy focused BPP group at the Haas School of Business. He is a research fellow at the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), the International Growth Centre (IGC), the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL) - Conflict and Violence Initiative, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) – Political Economy, a distinguished fellow at the Center for Economic Studies ifo (CESifo) – Applied Microeconomics, and was awarded the prestigious CIFAR Azrieli global scholarship and was a Harvard Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies in 2015 and 2017. He co-founded Marakuja Kivu Research, an organization focused on collecting data in weak state areas while providing career enhancing opportunities to young Congolese individuals and ex-combatants. His work is part of the Congo Calling documentary, which was nominated in 2019 for the best German documentary award. Raúl is originally from Spain, and lived half of his life in France, and continues to work and travel to the DRC.

Baidoa, Somalia

Makeshift, temporary shelter made of plastic and clothing at a refugee center in Baidoa, Somalia.