Noah Nathan will work on an on-going project exploring the relationships between long-run state building, micro-level economic inequality, and the elite capture of democratic power in rural Africa. This projects draws on archival data on colonial policies towards traditional chieftaincy and education, contemporary large-n administrative datasets, and original fieldwork conducted in Northern Ghana.
Nathan’s other scholarship focuses on political behavior, clientelism, and the development of political parties in new democracies in Africa. His first book, Electoral Politics and Africa’s Urban Transition: Class and Ethnicity in Ghana (Cambridge University Press, 2019), explores the behavior of voters and politicians in Accra, Ghana. The book challenges standard assumptions about urbanization’s potential for transformative effects on politics in the developing world and instead documents how modes of electoral competition can become highly varied within rapidly growing cities from neighborhood to neighborhood.
Nathan has been an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan since 2016. He earned his AB, AM, and PhD degrees in government at Harvard University. For more about his work, see sites.lsa.umich.edu/noahnathan