Download my current CV here; excerpts below.

Academic Positions
Assistant Professor, New York University Abu Dhabi, July 2016 —

PhD, Political Science, Stanford University, 2016

Dissertation: The Religious Roots of Inequality in Africa
Committee: Jeremy Weinstein (chair), Pascaline Dupas, James Fearon, David Laitin

BA, Human Biology, Stanford University, 2007


  1. Platas, Melina R. and Pia Raffler. 2019. “Private vs. Public Information and Voting Behavior. A Field Experiment in Ugandan MP Elections.” (with Pia Raffler) Information and Accountability: A New Method for Cumulative Learning. Edited by Thad Dunning et al. (Under contract at Cambridge University Press).
  2. Adida, Claire, Adeline Lo, and Melina R. Platas. 2018. “Perspective taking can promote short-term inclusionary behavior toward Syrian refugees,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  3. Grossman, Guy, Melina R. Platas, and Jonathan Rodden. 2018. “Crowdsourcing Accountability: ICT for Service Delivery,” World Development, 112: 74-87.
    • Supplementary Information here.
  4. Adida, Claire, Kim Yi Dionne, and Melina Platas. 2018. “Ebola, Elections, and Immigration,” Politics, Groups, and Identities.
  5. Lee, Melissa and Melina Platas Izama. 2015. “Aid Externalities: Evidence from PEPFAR in Africa” (with Melissa Lee) World Development, 67: 281-294.
  6. Platas Izama, Melina. 2014. “Muslim Education in Africa: Trends and Attitudes Toward Faith-Based Schools,” Review of Faith and International Affairs, 12(2): 38-50. 

Under Review

  1. Religion, Patriarchy and the Perpetuation of Harmful Social Conventions: The Case of Female Genital Cutting in Egypt (with Lisa Blaydes, under review)
  2. Social Networks, Social Context, and Political Participation: Evidence from Uganda (with Nicholas Eubank, Guy Grossman, and Jonathan Rodden, under review)
  3. The Limits of Partisanship: How Information Can Encourage Crossing Party Lines (with Pia Raffler, under review)
  4. Peer effects and externalities in technology adoption: Evidence from community reporting in Uganda (with Romain Ferrali, Guy Grossman, and Jonathan Rodden)

Working Papers

  1. The Institutional Origins of Muslim Disadvantage
  2. Africa’s health tragedy? Ethnic diversity and health outcomes
  3. Culture and the Persistence of Educational Inequality: Lessons from the Muslim-Christian Education Gap in Africa
  4. The American Refugee Consensus (with Claire Adida and Adeline Lo)
  5. Engendering Empathy, Begetting Backlash: American Attitudes toward Syrian Refugees (with Claire Adida and Adeline Lo)
    • Winner of the Migration and Citizenship APSA Section Best Paper Award, 2017

Awards, Fellowships, and Grants

Winner of the Migration and Citizenship APSA Section Best Paper Award, 2017
NSF RAPID (Ebola Survey), 2014
Experiments in Governance and Politics Regranting Initiative, 2014
Graduate Public Service Fellowship, 2014-2015
FSI Student Research Grant, 2014
Diversity Dissertation Research Opportunity Grant, 2014
Entrepreneurship & Innovation in Developing Economies (EIDE) Grant, 2014
Europe Center Graduate Student Grant, 2013
O’Bie Shultz Research Travel Grant, 2013
APSA Africa Workshop Fellow, 2013
Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society Small Grant, 2013
Gerald J. Lieberman Fellow, 2013-2014
AALIMS Student Fellow, 2012
FSI Global Underdevelopment Action Fund (with Lisa Blaydes and Sepidah Modrek), 2012
Abbasi Program Student Grant, Stanford, 2012
Graduate Research Opportunity Grant, Stanford, 2012
Center for African Studies Graduate Research Grant, Stanford, 2011
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Honorable Mention, 2011
Fulbright U.S. Student, Uganda, 2008-2009
Joshua Lederberg Award for Academic Excellence in Human Biology, Stanford, 2007
J.E. Wallace Award for Scholastic Achievement, Stanford, 2007
Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, 2006

Conference Presentations
American Political Science Association, 2010, 2011, 2012 (cancelled), 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Research and Innovation in Governance, Yale Africa Initiative, 2014
African Studies Association, 2013, 2014
AALIMS, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018 (accepted)
Midwest Political Science Association, 2013
Working Group in African Political Economy, 2010, 2012
Middle Eastern Studies Association, 2012
Western Political Science Association, 2010

Conferences Organized
AALIMS-NYUAD, NYU Abu Dhabi, February 16-17, 2019
WGAPE NYUAD, NYU Abu Dhabi, January 25-27, 2019
WGAPE NYUAD, NYU Abu Dhabi, January 26-28, 2018
WGAPE NYUAD, NYU Abu Dhabi, January 5-7, 2017.
Mobile Africa, Stanford University, October 26-27, 2012. Co-organizer on behalf of the Stanford Forum for African Studies..
The Black Atlantic: Colonial and Contemporary Exchanges, Stanford University, October 28-29, 2011. Co-organizer on behalf of the Stanford Forum for African Studies.

Referee Services
American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, World Development, British Journal of Political Science, World Politics, Sociology of Religion, British Medical Journal Global Health, Comparative Studies in International Development, Journal of Modern African Studies, Open Economics

Other Work Experience
TV talk-show panelist, NTV, Uganda, 2014
Radio talk-show panelist, 93.3 Kfm, Uganda, 2014
Consultant, Chapter Four, Uganda, 2014
Consultant, USAID Uganda GAPP Program, 2013-present
Consultant, Agency for Transformation, Uganda, 2013-present
Technical advisor, Uganda Muslim Teachers’ Association, Uganda, 2013-2014
Contributor, The Independent, Uganda 2008-present
Columnist, The Independent (Rwanda Edition), Kigali, Rwanda 2011-2012
Research Coordinator, Fanaka Kwa Wote, Kampala, Uganda 2008-2009
Editorial Intern, The Daily Monitor, Kampala, Uganda 2007
Legal Intern, Office of Daniel Abrahamson, Berkeley, CA 2006
Intern, The AIDS Support Organization, Jinja, Uganda 2005

Professional Organizations
American Political Science Association (APSA)
Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA)
Working Group in African Political Economy (WGAPE)
Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA)
African Studies Association (ASA)

Regional Experience
Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda


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