Matthew K. Ribar is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science and a graduate fellow at Stanford’s Center for African Studies. His book-style dissertation explores the political economy of land, development, and informality in sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, this project studies the demand for formal property rights in the context of West African land tenure. He combines survey experiments, machine learning, a natural experiment, administrative data, and in-depth qualitative fieldwork to show how both rural households and customary chiefs affect the land titling process.
In other work, he collaborates with Mercy Corps to run a large-scale random control trial in Niger to study how customary institutions can reduce youth vulnerability to violent extremism. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Student Fellowship. His work has also been supported by the United States Agency for International Development, the Structural Transformation and Economic Growth Initiative, the Stanford King Center for International Development, and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
Before coming to Stanford, he worked as a program associate at Mathematica Policy Research in support of impact evaluations of Millennium Challenge Corporation programs in Senegal, Benin, Liberia, and Cabo Verde. He also worked for the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) project and for the Pacific Small Arms Action Group. He hold an MA in political science from Stanford University and a BA in International Relations jointly from the College of William & Mary and the University of St. Andrews.