Laura Paler

  • Assistant Professor

Laura Paler specializes in comparative politics and the political economy of development. Her projects examine how different sources of revenue (such as natural resource rents, foreign aid, and taxes) affect political behavior and development; how ex-combatants and civilians transition to peace in post-conflict contexts; and how cross-cutting economic and identity cleavages affect support for ethnic versus programmatic politics. Most of her projects involve the collection of original administrative and survey data and employ experimental or quasi-experimental methods. She has conducted research in Indonesia, Colombia, Lebanon, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Professor Paler completed her Ph.D. in political science at Columbia University in 2012. Before coming to Pittsburgh she held a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC.


PS 0300 Comparative Politics

PS 1338 Politics of Development

PS 1583 The Politics of Oil and Natural Resources

Education & Training

  • PhD, Columbia University, 2012

Representative Publications

Samii, Cyrus, Laura Paler, and Sarah Zukerman Daly. 2016. “Retrospective Causal Inference with Machine Learning Ensembles: An Application to Anti-Recidivism Policies in Colombia.” Political Analysis 24(4): 434-456.

Grossman, Guy and Laura Paler. 2015. “Using Field Experiments to Study Political Institutions” Routledge Handbook of Comparative Political Institutions. Eds. Jennifer Gandhi and Ruben Ruiz-Rufino. New York: Routledge: pp. 84-97.

Paler, Laura. 2013. “Keeping the Public Purse: An Experiment in Windfalls, Taxes, and the Incentives to Restrain Government” American Political Science Review 104(7): 706-725.

Research Interests

Comparative politics, Political economy of development

Area of Study