Policy Engagement

My policy interests primarily lie in the areas of state fragility and state capacity. I regularly engage with policy actors from around the world, including both OECD and developing countries, on these areas.

Catalyzing Policy-Research Collaborations

I have worked for about ten years for the International Growth Centre (IGC) that aims to promote sustainable growth in developing countries in Africa and Asia by providing demand-led policy advice based on frontier research. I am now broadening my approach to cover more areas and policy actors.

Covid-19 Policy Response

Policymaking in uncertain times. May 2020. (Arabic, French versions)

Smart Containment with Active Learning: A Proposal for a Data-Responsive and Graded Response to Covid-19. May 2020.

Smart Containment with Active Learning: Operations Plan. May 2020.

IGC COVID-19 guidance note: Containment strategies and support for vulnerable households.

What are the smart COVID-19 containment options for developing countries? LSE Blog.

State Fragility

Co-chair, LSE-Oxford Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development. The goal of the Commission was to guide policy at global levels and for societies facing different dimensions of fragility on escaping the fragility trap and on promoting inclusive growth in fragile and conflict situations.

Escaping the Fragility Trap (with Timothy Besley and Paul Collier), Final Report, April 2018, LSE-Oxford Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development. (French version)

State Capacity

Autonomy – not rules – may be the government’s best weapon in the fight against corruption (with Katie Parry, Oriana Bandiera, Michael Best, Andrea Prat). VOX. 13 May 2020.

The Analytical Angle: What’s in the price of a pen? Millions of rupees, if you’re the government. (with Michael Best, Columbia). DAWN October 23, 2019.

Blog on Monkey Cage at Washington Post. 2017. “These 3 barriers make it hard for policymakers to use the evidence that development researchers produce”.

Rewarding bureaucrats: Can incentives Improve public sector performance? (with Oriana Bandiera and Julia Tobias) Growth Brief, International Growth Centre. 2017.

Designing Incentive Structures in Bureaucracies: A case study for Civil Service Reform in Pakistan (with Asim Khwaja and Tiffany Simon). Essay for Princeton University Wilson Center’s forthcoming Volume on “Pakistan’s Institutions: We know they matter, but how can they work better?”

Taxing to develop: When ‘third-best’ policies are optimal (with Henrik Kleven and Upaasna Kaul) Growth Brief, International Growth Centre 2016 (FT Blog in beyondbrics).

Tax in Developing Countries: Increasing Resources for Development (with Timothy Besley, LSE) Written Evidence for the International Development Select Committee, UK Parliament 2012..

Capacity Building for Decentralized Education Service Delivery in Pakistan (with David Watson) (Discussion Paper 57G) European Centre for Development Policy Management: Maastricht 2005.

Entrepreneurship and Social Protection

Targeting the Poor: Developing economies face special challenges in delivering social protection (with Rema Hanna, HKS, and Benjamin Olken, MIT), Finance and Development, December 2018, Vol. 55, No. 4, International Monetary Fund. (Spanish version)

Asset Transfer Program: One Year Impact Report (with Imran Rasul, UCL, Schanzah Khalid, CERP, and Shujaat Ali, CERP) PPAF-CERP, 2015.

Punjab Economic Opportunities Program, Phase 1 Baseline Report (with Imran Rasul, UCL, Saad Gulzar, IGC, David Hollywood, UCL, Hafsa Iqbal, CERP, and Arqam Lodhi, CERP) 2013.

Punjab Economic Opportunities Program, Supply Side Surveys Report (with Imran Rasul, UCL, Omar Gondal, CERP, Anam Shoaib, CERP, Sahaab Sheikh, CERP, and Minahil Niazi, CERP) 2013.

A Study of Informal Finance Markets in Pakistan, Pakistan Microfinance Network 2005.