I am interested in the political economy of development, specializing in the politics of social policy reform in Sub-Saharan Africa. I am conducting my PhD research on two types of social policy reform in Malawi and Zambia: agricultural input subsidies and social cash transfers. Input subsidies provide farmers with synthetic fertilizer and hybrid maize seeds at below-market prices during planting season, whilst social cash transfers in Malawi and Zambia provide people with unconditional cash at regular intervals. These two policy types rival each other as political instruments to gain popularity with the rural poor, though whilst both countries have had large input subsidy programs for a long time, only the Zambian government has recently started funding a substantial social cash transfer program. I will take a political economic and discursive institutionalist perspective to investigate the drivers behind this divergence.
Prior to starting my PhD I was a practioner in the foreign aid sector. I was a Monitoring and Evaluation specialist with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK government in Malawi and Zimbabwe for 3 years, covering a range of programs including governance, education, health and social protection. This has led me to develop a keen interest in the effectiveness and politics of aid.
International Institute of Social Studies
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