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Martha Wilfahrt

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

B.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison; Ph.D., Cornell University
Curriculum Vitae


Research Interest(s): Political economy of development; politics of public goods provision; decentralization and local governance; informal institutions

Program Area(s): Comparative Politics

Regional Specialization(s): Africa

Subfield Specialties: Comparative Historical Analysis


Martha Wilfahrt researches the political economy of development, with a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Martha is finishing a book manuscript that explores how historical legacies of precolonial statehood impact the contemporary politics of public goods delivery in rural West Africa. Other on-going research projects investigate the assumption that British colonial policies of indirect rule generated better development outcomes than the French model of direct rule in Cameroon and the impact of public goods delivery on citizen evaluations of government performance. Her new book project, Tropical Subjects: Ethnographies of Experimentation, looks at the rise of field experiments in research on African political economy to evaluate how participants themselves, as individuals and communities, understand and respond to these interventions.

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