Jean Ensminger’s research focuses upon the political economy of African development. She is particularly concerned with understanding the relationships among social and political institutions, individual behavior, and the economic consequences of these interactions for individuals and societies. Early research was influenced by New Institutional Economics and drew upon a longitudinal study of one African society, the Orma. Subsequently, she spent a decade working with a large team of anthropologists and economists running economic experiments in small-scale societies around the world in an effort to understand the co-evolution of markets and norms of pro-social behavior. Her most recent work focuses upon corruption in development aid and the relationship between corruption and decentralized government. Trained as an economic anthropologist, she generally combines quantitative and qualitative methods with a political economist’s attention to strategic behavior.

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