Syeda ShahBano Ijaz

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Political Science department at the University of California-San Diego. My research is situated at the cusp of international development and comparative politics, and explores the strategic distributive politics of foreign aid delivery in developing countries. My dissertation challenges the conventional wisdom that foreign aid undermines democratic development by drawing attention to a seemingly marginal but politically consequential process of “last-mile access” provision. Last-mile access is a collection of strategies to overcome the bureaucratic and physical barriers that stand in the way for individual recipients to move beyond eligibility and obtain the benefits of foreign aid programs. I argue that the presence of high access hurdles in the form of bureaucratic costs and low physical mobility carve a significant role for local politicians in aid economies. Additionally, the salience of access for poor voters means that they demand it from their representatives, allowing a localized form of accountability to emerge around access provision.

In 2021-22 academic year, I will be a Dissertation Fellow with the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and an Oceanids Memorial Fellow. In recognition of my contributions to diversity in academia, I have been selected to serve as a Bouchet Scholar and have also received a Doctoral Diversity Intitiative Writing Grant by the University of California. Additionally, my dissertation research has received support from the International Institute at UCSD, the Center for Peace and Security Studies at UCSD, the Friends of the International Center at UCSD, the American Institute of Pakistan Studies and UCSD Sanford Lakoff Research Fellowship.

My current research focuses on Pakistan and I have accumulated two years of fieldwork experience in the country. Before joining UCSD, I completed an M.A. in Politics from New York University and an MS.c. in Economics for Development from the University of Oxford.

In 2017, I was a USIP Junior Peace Fellow at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. Previously, I have consulted with the World Bank, UNICEF and the Adam Smith Institute.