Laura Paler

Associate Professor, Department of Government, School of Public Affairs, American University


I am an associate professor in the Department of Government in the School of Public Affairs at American University. I study comparative politics, the political economy of development, and the causes of—and ways to mitigate—intergroup conflict and polarization. Much of my research involves conducting large scale field projects, using experiments or other methods for causal inference, and collecting original survey and behavioral data. I have conducted research in Indonesia, Colombia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, and the United States. My research has been published in the American Political Science Review, The Journal of Politics, and The Quarterly Journal of Political Science, among other outlets.

I am also a Co-Director of the Democratic Erosion Consortium (DEC)DEC is a rapidly growing consortium of researchers, students, policymakers, and practitioners with the common goal of deepening understanding of democratic erosion and identifying evidence-based strategies to combat it.  Additionally, I am a member of the Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP) network and a co-convener of the Northeast Workshop in Empirical Political Science

Previously, I was an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh; a fellow at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University; and a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC. I received my Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.