Erik Wibbels

Erik Wibbels

Robert O. Keohane Professor

External Address: 
204J Gross Hall, 140 Science Drive, Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708-0204
(919) 660-4322
Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Economy, Political Institutions, Security, Peace, Conflict

A Professor of Political Science, Wibbels' research focuses on development, decentralized governance, and other areas of political economy. He is the co-general editor of the Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics series. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the International Growth Centre and AidData, and he has published articles in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, International Organization, Comparative Political Studies and elsewhere. Current major projects include the combination of surveys and satellite images to identify slums in India and understand the conditions under which residents achieve formal recognition and successfully attract public services; an impact evaluation of a large, district-level USAID program in Ghana; and work on how the geographic emergence and spread of state authority impact long-term economic development. He also works with bilateral and multilaterial donors to improve the design and evaluation of governance programming. Wibbels previously taught at the University of Washington and the Juan March Institute and was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.


  • Ph.D., University of New Mexico 2000
  • M.A., University of New Mexico 1996
  • B.A., University of Virginia 1993

Wibbels, E. Federalism and the market: Intergovernmental conflict and economic reform in the developing world. 2005, pp. 1–276. Scopus, doi:10.1017/CBO9780511510441. Full Text

Wibbels, E. Federalism and the Market. Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Rueda, D., et al. “The origins of dualism.” The Politics of Advanced Capitalism, 2015, pp. 89–111. Scopus, doi:10.1017/CBO9781316163245.004. Full Text

Rueda, D., et al. “The Origins of Dualization.” The Future of Democratic Capitalism, 2013.

Wibbels, E., and J. Rodden. “Business Cycles and the Political Economy of Decentralized Finance: Lessons for Fiscal Federalism in the E.U.Fiscal Policy Surveillance in Europe, edited by Deroose Wierts et al., 2006.

Rains, E., et al. “Combining satellite and survey data to study Indian slums: evidence on the range of conditions and implications for urban policy.” Environment and Urbanization, vol. 31, no. 1, Apr. 2019, pp. 267–92. Scopus, doi:10.1177/0956247818798744. Full Text

Brinkerhoff, D. W., et al. “Distance, services, and citizen perceptions of the state in rural Africa.” Governance, vol. 31, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. 103–24. Scopus, doi:10.1111/gove.12271. Full Text

Pierskalla, J., et al. “Order, distance, and local development over the long-run.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science, vol. 12, no. 4, Jan. 2017, pp. 375–404. Scopus, doi:10.1561/100.00016020. Full Text

Beramendi, P., and E. Wibbels. “Globalization, public finance, and poverty.” International Studies Review, vol. 17, no. 4, Dec. 2015, pp. 677–85. Scopus, doi:10.1111/misr.12270. Full Text

Johnson, Sheri L., et al. “Economic inequality is related to cross-national prevalence of psychotic symptoms.Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, vol. 50, no. 12, Dec. 2015, pp. 1799–807. Epmc, doi:10.1007/s00127-015-1112-4. Full Text

Huntington, H., and E. Wibbels. “The Geography of Governance in Africa: New Tools from Satellites, Surveys and Mapping Initiatives.” Regional and Federal Studies, vol. 24, no. 5, Oct. 2014, pp. 625–45. Scopus, doi:10.1080/13597566.2014.971774. Full Text

Gift, T., and E. Wibbels. “Reading, writing, and the regrettable status of education research in comparative politics.” Annual Review of Political Science, vol. 17, Jan. 2014, pp. 291–312. Scopus, doi:10.1146/annurev-polisci-080911-131426. Full Text

Christensen, D., and E. Wibbels. “Labor standards, labor endowments, and the evolution of inequality.” International Studies Quarterly, vol. 58, no. 2, Jan. 2014, pp. 362–79. Scopus, doi:10.1111/isqu.12066. Full Text

Barber, B., et al. “The Behavioral Foundations of Social Politics: Evidence from Surveys and a Laboratory Democracy.” Comparative Political Studies, vol. 46, no. 10, Oct. 2013, pp. 1155–89. Manual, doi:10.1177/0010414012472467. Full Text

Wibbels, E., and D. Christensen. “Labor Standards, Trade and the Evolution of Inequality.” International Studies Quarterly, Apr. 2013.


Gadiraju, K. K., et al. “Machine learning approaches for slum detection using very high resolution satellite images.” Ieee International Conference on Data Mining Workshops, Icdmw, vol. 2018-November, 2019, pp. 1397–404. Scopus, doi:10.1109/ICDMW.2018.00198. Full Text

Roberts, K. M., and E. Wibbels. “Party systems and electoral volatility in Latin America: A test of economic, institutional, and structural explanations.” American Political Science Review, vol. 93, no. 3, 1999, pp. 575–90. Scopus, doi:10.2307/2585575. Full Text

Wibbels, E. “A Federal Bailout for the States.” San Diego Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Raleigh News and Observer, Jan. 2009.

Wibbels, E. “The Geography of Peace and Violence in Iraq.” The News and Observer, Aug. 2008.

Selected Grants

SBAR Cambodia SWAP awarded by Triangle Environmental (Co-Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2020

Geospatial Impact Evaluation of Local Government and Infrastructure Project and Infrastructure Needs Program II awarded by College of William and Mary (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2018

The Delivery and Spatial Distribution of Development Projects: Evidence from a USAID Governance Project in Ghana awarded by College of William and Mary (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2017

Illicit Financial Flows Rapid Assessment Tool awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2017

RTI University Scholar Program awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2016

Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant: The Political Economy of Educational Inequality awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2015

SBE Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant: The Political Economy of Decline awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2012 to 2014