I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at New York University Abu Dhabi. I study the politics of development, organized around three themes: 1) culture and development, 2) information, accountability, and service delivery, and 3) migration. My book project, Culture and the Persistence of Inequality, presents the colonial roots of educational inequality across religious groups in Africa, and the cultural factors that have allowed inequality to persist. I employ a variety of methods, ranging from field experiments to ethnography. The regional focus of my research is sub-Saharan Africa, where I have worked and conducted fieldwork in eight countries since 2005. I am a member of Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP) and a faculty fellow at the Association for Analytic Learning about Islam and Muslim Societies (AALIMS).
I am a contributor for the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage, and a panelist on KfM‘s The Hot Seat and NTV Uganda’s Fourth Estate in Uganda. I worked as a reporter at the Daily Monitor and The Independent magazine in Kampala, Uganda, from 2007-2009.
I received a PhD in political science from Stanford University in 2016, and a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University in 2007 (go Card!).
New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD)
Social Science (Bldg. A5), #145
P.O. Box 129188
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Email: mplatas [at] nyu [dot] edu