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President & Founder

Léonard Wantchékon

Leonard Wantchekon is the Founder and President of the African School of Economics. He is also a Professor of Politics, International Affairs and Economics (affiliated faculty) at Princeton University.  Prior to joining Princeton University, he was on the faculty of New York University (2001-2011), and Yale University (1995-2001). He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Northwestern University (1995) and his M.A. in Economics from Laval University and University of British Columbia (1992).

His research is broadly focused on Political and Economic Development, particularly in Africa. His specific interests include topics such as democratization, clientelism and redistributive politics, resource curse, and the long-term social impact of historical events.  He is the author of numerous publications in leading academic journals, including “Education and Human Capital Externalities: Evidence from Colonial Benin” (With Natalija Notva and Marko Klansja) in the Quarterly Journal of Economics (2015); “The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa” (with Nathan Nunn), in The American Economic Review (2011); “The Paradox of ‘Warlord’ Democracy: A Theoretical Investigation,” in the American Political Science Review (2004); “Clientelism and Voting Behavior: A Field Experiment in Benin,” World Politics (2003) as well as “Electoral Competition under the Threat of Political Unrest” (with Matthew Ellman) in the Quarterly Journal of Economics (2000).

Professor Wantchekon is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He served as the Secretary of the American Political Science Association (2008-2009) and on the Ibrahim Index Technical Committee (2009-2013).  He is also a core partner director at the Afrobarometer Network. Most recently, he joined the Executive Committee of the International Economic Association.

For a full profile of Professor Wantchekon, please visit the IMF website for a Finance & Development article entitled “Ground Breaker.”

Read Dr. Wantchekon’s CV here.