Leonard Wantchekon

Non-Resident Senior Research Fellow

Leonard Wantchekon is a Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, as well as Associated Faculty in Economics. A scholar with diverse interests, he has made substantive and methodological contributions to the fields of political economy,economic history, and development economics, particularly to the literatures on clientelism and state capture, democratization, education and social mobility. He has published in leading academic journals including the American Economic Review, American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Quarterly Journal of Economics, and World Politics.

His scholarship is shaped in part by his experiences as a left-wing pro-democracy student activist under a repressive military regime in his native Benin from 1976–87. He reflects on this experience in his auto-biography Rever-a-Contre Courant (Dreaming Against the Current), Harmattan (2012).

Wantchekon is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the Econometric Society. He is also Vice President of the American Political Science Association, and member of the Executive Committee of the International Economic Association. He is the founder and president of the African School of Economics which opened in Benin in 2014.

A UNU-WIDER Non-Resident Research Fellow, Professor Wantchekon is supporting the delivery of UNU-WIDER’s Clientelist Politics and Economic Development.