Harvard University
1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
jweigel [at] fas [dot] harvard [dot] edu

I am a PhD candidate in Political Economy and Government at Harvard University. My research is on the political economy of formal state building in developing countries. I use randomized field experiments to examine state-building initiatives, such as tax collection, anticorruption policies, and programs to expand ownership of formal land titles. My main interest is how efforts to build formal state capacity shape citizens’ engagement with the government and whether formal institutions crowd out informal ones. I also explore the causes and consequences of state formation by leveraging natural experiments of history. My current field work is based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but I have also worked in Haiti, Tanzania, and Guatemala. 

After graduating from Harvard College in 2009 with a BA in Social Studies, I spent a year studying political theory at Cambridge University on a Harvard-Cambridge Scholarship. I then worked for two years as a researcher for Dr. Paul Farmer at Partners In Health, where I focused on issues of aid effectiveness after the 2010 earthquake and cholera epidemic in Haiti. 

I am currently an affiliate of Harvard's Institute for Quantitative Social ScienceEvidence for Policy Design (EPoD), and at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. My research has been generously supported by the Fulbright Scholar Program, the National Science Foundation, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL) Governance Initiative, the Weiss Family Fund, the Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP) Metaketa II Initiative, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and Harvard's Center for African Studies.