Ali Cheema is Associate Professor of Economics and the Head of the Economics Department. A Rhodes Scholar, he holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Cambridge, an MPhil in Economics and Politics from the University of Cambridge, a BA Honours in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford, and a BA in Mathematics and Statistics from Government College, Lahore. He has recently been asked to co-convene (with Profs. Barry Weingast, Stanford and Jean Paul Faguet, London School of Economics) the Initiative of Policy Dialogue (IPD), Columbia University, Taskforce on Decentralisation. He is also co-convener (with Prof. Mark Robinson, Institute of Development Studies, Sussex) of the State Capacity programme, funded by the Development Research Centre (DRC) on the Future State, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, UK.
He was also one of the founding members (along with Asim Khwaja, Harvard; Jishnu Das, World Bank and Tahir Andrabi, Pomona, College) of the Stockholm Challenge Award winning portal, Relief Information System for Earthquakes, Pakistan (RISEPAK). His areas of research are political economy, public choice, development economics, economic history, governance and decentralisation and his work has a strong policy focus. His work uses a combination of methodologies that include social network analysis, ethnographies, archival work, and GIS mapping along with rigorous econometric analysis. Currently he is working on three projects that empirically analyse the impact of decentralisation, village land settlement histories, 1947 partition-migration effects and village-level informal institutions on voting behaviour, the politics of pro-poor public service delivery and the delivery of public goods to socially excluded households in Punjab, Pakistan. A part of this work is being funded from a Research Grant given by the DRC on the Future State, IDS, Sussex. In recent years, he has worked as a consultant to the Asian Development Bank, DFID and the World Bank and has served on high level provincial and Federal Government taskforces and committees.