Evan Lieberman

Evan Lieberman

Total Professor of Political Science and Contemporary Africa

CV (pdf)

Development; ethnicity / identity; public policy; research methods; accountability; governance; democracy; state-building; Africa.


Evan Lieberman is the Total Professor of Political Science and Contemporary Africa. He conducts research in the field of comparative politics, with a focus on development and ethnic conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. Lieberman received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

He is the author of Boundaries of Contagion: How Ethnic Politics have Shaped Government Responses to AIDS (Princeton University Press 2009) and Race and Regionalism in the Politics of Taxation in Brazil and South Africa (Cambridge University Press 2003), and has published articles in the American Political Science Review, Annual Review of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Politics & Society, Studies in Comparative International Development, and World Development. Lieberman is recipient of the 2014 David Collier Mid-Career Award, the 2010 Giovanni Sartori Book prize, the 2004 Mattei Dogan book prize, the 2002 Gabriel A. Almond dissertation award; and the 2002 Mary Parker Follett article award. He was a Fulbright fellow in South Africa in 1997-98, and a Robert Wood Johnson health policy scholar at Yale University in 2000-02. Previously, he was Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Politics at Princeton University (2002-14).


Lieberman employs a range of empirical research methods to better understand the causes and consequences of policy-making, conflict, and human development especially in sub-Saharan Africa. His current projects include a study of the drivers of local and polycentric service delivery in Southern Africa; field experiments investigating the relationship between information provision and citizenship in East Africa; conceptual, case study, and statistical analyses of the institutionalization of ethnic categories around the world; and survey experiments on social identity and perceptions of health-related risks. He is also working on problems of research design and multi-method causal inference in comparative research.

Select Recent Publications

“Nuanced Accountability: Voter Responses to Service Delivery in Southern Africa,” (with Daniel de Kadt). British Journal of Political Science, Forthcoming.

Census Enumeration and Group Conflict: A Global Analysis of the Consequences of Counting” (with Prerna Singh). World Politics January 2017, 1-53. Data and code are available at Harvard Dataverse (DOI: doi:10.7910/DVN/KJV6OJ).

Can the Biomedical Research Cycle Be a Model for Political Science?” Perspectives on Politics, vol. 14, no. 4, 2016, pp. 1054–1066.

“Response to Symposium Reviewers.” Perspectives on Politics, vol. 14, no. 4, 2016, pp. 1080–1082.

For a complete list, please visit https://evanlieberman.org/papers-and-publications/



South Africa's Healthy Democracy: Why Zuma's Resignation Is a Good Sign

Daniel de Kadt, Evan Lieberman, and Philip Martin Foreign Affairs

Democracy in South Africa is in tatters. Or at least that’s the widespread view following President Jacob Zuma’s forced resignation on February 14, which ended his almost-nine-year tenure in office.

Political science debuts on MITeX

Leda Zimmerman MIT Political Science

New course takes a deep dive into African democracies. “The course is about Africa, where there are specific challenges to democratic government, but the questions and ideas that arise are relevant in any political context,” says Lieberman.