• James Robinson
    James Robinson
  • Christopher Blattman
    Christopher Blattman
  • Oeindrila Dube
    Oeindrila Dube
  • Roger Myerson
    Roger Myerson

James Robinson

Institute Director
The Reverend Dr. Richard L. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies and University Professor
Harris School of Public Policy

As institute director, James Robinson is guiding The Pearson Institute’s research agenda, engaging the international academic and practitioner community through The Pearson Global Forum, and setting the curriculum for the next generation of leaders and scholars.

A prominent political scientist and economist, Robinson has conducted influential research in the field of political and economic development and the factors that are the root causes of conflict. His work explores the underlying relationship between poverty and the institutions of a society and how institutions emerge out of political conflicts.

Drawing insights from game theory and global history, he employs rigorous statistical analysis and case studies to identify the political foundations of economic development and growth. His work has deepened the understanding of political institutions throughout the world.

Robinson has a particular interest in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. He is widely recognized as the coauthor of Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, with Daron Acemoglu, the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at MIT. Translated into 37 languages since its publication in 2012, the book offers a unique historic exploration of why some countries have flourished economically while others have fallen into poverty. He has also written and coauthored numerous books and articles, including the acclaimed Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (also with Acemoglu).

Robinson served as an academic advisor to the World Bank’s 2017 World Development Report on Governance, on the board of the Global Development Network from January 2009 to December 2011, and on the Swedish Development Policy Council, a committee advising the Swedish Foreign Minister on Sweden’s international development policy, from 2007 to 2010.

Personal Website

Christopher Blattman

The Ramalee E. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies
Harris Public Policy

Christopher Blattman is helping The Pearson Institute pursue its global mission by focusing on some of the biggest social challenges in Africa and Latin America: conflict, crime, and state-building. Blattman is passionately engaged with such questions as “Why are some societies poor, violent, and unequal?” and “What leads people into poverty, violence, and crime and what events and interventions lead them out?”

As an economist and political scientist, Blattman uses field study, surveys, natural experiments, and field experiments to study the dynamics of poverty and participation, and to consider which development programs work and why. A number of studies are presently underway in Uganda and Liberia, where he is exploring new strategies to alleviate poverty and is exploring how these strategies impact violence, unrest, and other social and political behavior. He has published articles in American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, American Political Science Review, Journal of Economic Literature, Journal of Economic Perspectives, International Organization, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Review of Economics and Statistics.

Blattman holds many affiliations that extend The Pearson Institute’s reach and impact. In addition to being a nonresident fellow at the Center for Global Development, he cochairs the crime and violence initiative at MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and is the lead academic in the peace and recovery program at Innovations for Poverty Action. He is a fellow with the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), an affiliate of the Centre for Economic Policy Research, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and a member of the International Growth Center. He has acted as a consultant and advisor to the World Bank, UNICEF, the UN Peacebuilding Fund, Uganda’s Office of the Prime Minister, and Liberia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Previously, Blattman was a business consultant and an accountant at Deloitte & Touche. He then served as an assistant professor of political science and economics at Yale University and most recently as an associate professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and Department of Political Science. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in public administration and international development from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Personal Website

Oeindrila Dube

The Philip K. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies
Harris Public Policy

Oeindrila Dube’s research focuses on understanding the causes and consequences of conflict and crime in the developing world.

Dube’s current research interests include studying the role of employment opportunities in engaging at-risk Muslim youth, understanding the role of trauma in postconflict recovery, and analyzing the role of gender in conflict. Through this research agenda, she aims to help advance The Pearson Institute’s goal of incubating new strategies for curbing violence worldwide.

In past work, Dube has examined how commodity price shocks influence civil war in Colombia, documented how the availability of guns from the United States promotes violent crime in Mexico, and experimentally evaluated the effects of postconflict reconciliation in Sierra Leone.

Dube’s research affiliations include the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), the Centre for Economic Policy Research, the International Growth Center, and the University of Chicago Crime Lab. She cochairs the crime and violence initiative at MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and serves as an associate editor at the Review of Economics and Statistics.

Before joining The Pearson Institute, Dube was an assistant professor of politics and economics at New York University and a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Global Development. She holds a PhD in public policy from Harvard University, an MPhil in economics from the University of Oxford, and a BA in public policy from Stanford University. She also received a Rhodes Scholarship in 2002.

Personal Website

Roger Myerson

The David L. Pearson Distinguished Service Professor of Global Conflict Studies
Harris Public Policy, the Griffin Department of Economics, and the College.

Roger Myerson bolsters The Pearson Institute’s research agenda by bringing his field-defining research in economics and political science to matters of global conflict and resolution. His scholarship on state building, conflict resolution and architectures for democracy which promote accountability and peaceful societies, is motivated by contemporary policy challenges and embodies The Pearson Institute's mission to unite research and policy.

Myerson has made seminal contributions to the fields of economics and political science. In game theory, he introduced refinements of Nash's equilibrium concept, and he developed techniques to characterize the effects of communication among rational agents who have different information. His analysis of incentive constraints in economic communication introduced several fundamental concepts that are now widely used in economic analysis, including the revelation principle and the revenue-equivalence theorem in auctions and bargaining. Myerson has also applied game-theoretic tools to political science, analyzing how political incentives can be affected by different electoral systems and constitutional structures.

Myerson is the author of Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict (1991)and Probability Models for Economic Decisions (2005). He also has published numerous articles in professional journals, including Econometrica, Journal of Economic Theory, Games and Decisions, American Political Science Review, Mathematics of Operations Research, and International Journal of Game Theory. He has served as president of the Game Theory Society (2012-2014), president of the Econometric Society (2009), and vice president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1999-2002).

Myerson has a PhD from Harvard University and taught for 25 years in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University before coming to the University of Chicago in 2001. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has received several honorary degrees, and he received the Jean-Jacques Laffont Prize in 2009. He was awarded the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in recognition of his contributions to mechanism design theory, which analyzes rules for coordinating economic agents efficiently when they have different information and difficulty trusting each other.

Personal Website

Life in a Refugee Camp.

TURKANIA DISTRICT, KENYA - 2016: Young Somali girls who fled the war in their home country study at a school inside the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwest Kenya.


MAGNUM PHOTOS / Newsha Tavakolian