Professor Leonard Wantchekon Joins Charter Cities Institute’s Board of Directors

Distinguished Professor Leonard Wantchekon Joins Charter Cities Institute’s Board of Directors

Distinguished Professor Leonard Wantchekon Joins Charter Cities Institute’s Board of Directors

Washington, DC

December 6, 2021  

‍The Charter Cities Institute (CCI) today announced that by unanimous agreement among its current Board of Directors, Professor Leonard Wantchekon has joined the Board, effective immediately.  

Professor Leonard Wantchekon is the James Madison Professor of Political Economy at Princeton University, as well as Professor of Politics and International Affairs. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, a member of the Executive Committee of the International Economic Association, and has served as Secretary of the American Political Science Association and on the Executive Committee of the Afrobarometer Network. Wantchekon is also the Founder and President of the African School of Economics, which opened in Benin in 2014 (and has since added a second campus in Cote d’Ivoire), and the Founder and President of the Pan-African Scientific Research Council. He previously served as professor at New York University and at Yale University, and holds a PhD in Economics from Northwestern University.

“We are thrilled to add Professor Wantchekon to the CCI Board.  As the Institute transforms to more actively engage with partners on the ground who are building new cities in the Global South, Professor Wantchekon’s real world experience is incredibly helpful to our efforts. He is an inspiring leader and well respected academic, who will bring great energy, connections, and ideas to our organization,” said CCI Executive Director Dr. Mark Lutter.  

A scholar with diverse interests, Wantchekon has made substantive contributions to the fields of Political Economy, Economic History and Development Economics. He has implemented pioneering studies on political institutions and governance, using field experiments with real politicians competing in real elections to investigate the effects of broad-based policy messages and deliberative campaign strategies on voting behavior and election outcomes. Wantchekon’s scholarship is shaped in part by his experiences as a pro-democracy student activist under a repressive military regime in his native country of Benin from 1976 to 1987. He reflects on this experience in his autobiography Rêver-a-Contre Courant which he discussed on the Charter Cities Podcast.

“I’m very excited to join the Board of CCI. The organization is pushing a new development model that holds great promise for much of the Global South, which is currently dealing with the twin problems of rapid urbanization and poor governance,” said Professor Wantchekon.  

Wantchekon’s academic initiatives and research projects have been covered by major international media outlets such as Financial TimesNew York TimesLos Angeles Times, Jeune Afrique, BBC, The Economist, Voice of America and Radio France International, among others. For more information on Professor Wantchekon, please visit the IMF website for a Finance & Development article entitled “Ground Breaker.”