Ali Cheema is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). He serves as the Faculty Director of the Mahbub Ul Haq Research Centre at LUMS. He is a co-founder of the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP). In addition, he is a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS) and a co-lead academic of the International Growth Center’s Pakistan programme. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex and was the Chair of the Economics Department at LUMS from 2004-2010. He was also a founding member of the Stockholm Challenge Award winning portal, Relief Information System for Earthquakes, Pakistan (RISEPAK).

His areas of research include economic development with a focus on human capital, inclusion and economic mobility, gender, public economics, comparative politics, economic history and the economics of crime. His research combines extensive mixed-methods fieldwork, historical archival research, rigorous empirical analysis and theory to offer insights into how political economy and historical foundations shape economic and political development. Part of his recent work focuses on how political and wealth inequality shape accountability, representation and development, analyzing the barrier’s to women’s political participation and representation and evaluating the potential of skills and human capital as instruments for inclusive development. He is particularly interested in how local governance and taxation institutions can be designed to makes states more accountable to citizens. He is also interested in understanding the role of citizen-state trust in building effective and accountable state capacities for inclusive development.

He holds a PhD in Economics from Cambridge, an MPhil in Economics and Politics from Cambridge, a BA (Hons.) in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) from Oxford where has was a Rhodes Scholar, and a BA in Mathematics and Statistics from Government College, Lahore. He was a visiting Fulbright and SAI Scholar at Harvard Kennedy School in 2010-11. 

Recent Papers

  1. Trust in State and Non-State Actors: Evidence from Dispute Resolution in Pakistan (with D. Acemoglu, A. I. Khwaja and J. Robinson) forthcoming, Journal of Political Economy, 2020. 
  2. ‘Who do Politicians Talk to? Political Contact in Urban Punjab’, in M. Mufti, S. Shafqat and N. Siddiqui (ed.), Pakistan’s Political Parties, Surviving Between Democracy and Dictatorship, Georgetown University Press. (with Liaqat,, A. and Khan Mohmand, S.)
  3. Glass Walls: Experimental Evidence on Access Constraints faced by Rural Women (with A. I. Khwaja, F. Naseer, and J. Shapiro). WP 2022.
  4. Canvassing the Gatekeepers: A Field Experiment to Improve Women’s Electoral Turnout in Pakistan (with S. Khan, S. Khan-Mohmand and A. Liaqat). WP 2020
  5. The Empty Promise of Cities: Women’s Political Participation in Pakistan (with S. Khan, S. Khan-Mohmand and A. Liaqat). WP 2020
  6. Institutional Change and Dynastic Persistence in Pakistan: The Impact of Election Reapportionment and Education Minimums (with M. F. Naseer and L. Sonnet). WP 2020
  7. Invisible Citizens: Why More Women in Pakistan Do Not Vote,” (with S. Khan, S. Khan-Mohmand and A. Liaqat), Institute of Development Studies Working Paper No. 484, 2019.
  8. Political Connections and Vote Choice: Evidence from Pakistan,” (with A. Liaqat, M.J. Callen, Adnan Khan, Muhammad Farooq Naseer and Jacob Shapiro). WP 2019
  9. The Political Economy of Economic Empowerment: Bringing Politics and Society Back in, Institute of Development Studies Working Paper No. 484, 2017.
  10. Breaking the Countercyclical Pattern of Local Democracy in Pakistan (with R.  Myerson and A. Q. Khan) in J. P. Faguet (eds.) “Is Decentralization  Good for Development?” Oxford University Press.

|| Download CV