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My forthcoming book is "THE GREAT GENDER DIVERGENCE" (Princeton University Press).  It examines why the entire world has become more gender equal, and why some societies are more gender equal than others. In South Asia, North Africa and the Middle East, it is men who provide for their families and organise politically. Chinese women work but are still locked out of politics. Latin America has undergone radical transformation, staging massive rallies against male violence and nearly achieving gender parity in political representation. Scandinavia still comes closest to a feminist utopia, but for most of history Europe was far more patriarchal than matrilineal South East Asia and Southern Africa. 

What explains "The Great Gender Divergence"? My book will uncover the origins and evolution of patriarchy, the drivers of gender equality and regional variation. 


I've published on:

I am a Senior Lecturer at King's College London, with previous appointments at Stanford, Toronto, Yale, Harvard, Cambridge and the LSE.

My email is 

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There is a complementary relationship between export incentives and domestic activists in improving workers’ rights in global supply chains. 


Vietnam liberalised labour laws in order to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership; and Bangladesh did likewise in order to salvage its reputation after Rana Plaza. Activists became less fearful once Bangladeshi politicians had announced reforms. They registered unions, demonstrated en masse, and secured a 77% increase in the minimum wage. In Vietnam, party reformists were crucial in persuading their conservative colleagues that TPP would help strengthen the regime’s hold on power, while pushing for genuinely independent unions.

(forthcoming) Review of International Political Economy,

summarised in Boston Review)

(forthcoming) Gender & Society

This paper examines why support for gender equality is higher in cities. 


It underscores: higher urban living costs (boosting support for female employment); urban diversity (increasing exposure to women in socially valued domains); and collective association (learning from others, emboldening more experimentation, enabling positive feedback loops).

(forthcoming) Review of International Political Economy 

This paper explains why France was introduced ground-breaking corporate accountability legislation.

It argues that activists are more likely to invest in sustained activism if they have credible reasons for hope - emanating from domestic and national politics.

(forthcoming) Socio-Economic Review

This paper traces the drivers of pro-worker reforms in Vietnam.


It shows how strikes, export incentives, and geopolitics strengthened government support for higher wages, social dialogue, and freedom of association.

(2018) Development Policy Review 36(2): 221-240.

This paper shows how regional benchmarking and top-down accountability motivated government prioritisation of maternal health care - enabling a rapid reduction in maternal deaths. 

with Gwyn Bevan and Sabina Nuti

(forthcoming) Health Economics, Policy and Law.

Benchmarking can improve health care performance: highlighting inspirational possibilities, inducing reputational concerns, and motivating a race to the top.

We draw on qualitative and quantitative research in the UK, Italy, and Zambia.

(2018) Annals of the American Association of Geographers

108(4): 1096-114.

Across the world, people in urban rather than rural areas are more likely to support gender equality.

This paper argues that social change accelerates when we see that others are changing. Cities foster this positive feedback loop by enabling association with diverse others: seeing women demonstrate equal competence in socially valued domains.

(2018) World Development, 110: 360-372.

(Video of my World Bank presentation here)

Inequality has recently fallen across Latin America. 


This is partly due to increased fiscal space and democratisation. Also relevant are social movements and ideational change. To tackle inequality, we need to publicise widespread support for change.

(2017) Third World Quarterly 38:7, 1619-1638.

This paper explores how gender ideologies shape industrial relations in the Asian garment industry.


It illustrates how expectations of acquiescent women and assertive men reinforce patriarchal, authoritarian unions. Building more inclusive unions may help strengthen the labour movement.

(2016) Annals of the Association of American Geographers

106:5, 1135-1151.

Female labor force participation is rising across the world. But men's share of unpaid care work has not increased commensurately.


This paper argues that social change is asymmetric because everyone can see women succeeding in work and politics. This undermines gender ideologies and cultivates a positive feedback loop. The same has not occurred for care work - as this takes place behind closed doors, hidden from view. Thus many presume men sharing care work is uncommon and stigmatised. 

(2016) Development and Change 47:2, 388-411.

There is growing support for women leaders in Zambia. This is partly because many people have seen women undertake socially valued work, and now perceive them as equally competent.

(2015) Geoforum 59, 12-20.

This paper examines the effectiveness of gender sensitisation in Zambia. Abstract messages of gender equality rarely change beliefs and behaviour. Much more catalytic is people seeing women in socially valued roles - in employment and politics.

(2015) Gender, Place and Culture 22:3, 344-362.

This article explores why gender inequalities persist, over decades. 


If people do not see women undertaking socially valued roles, they may doubt their equal competence. Such perceptions perpetuate women’s exclusion from prestigious positions.

This paper explains why there is growing support for female education, employment, and leadership in Zambia.

It details how people came to see women's employment as advantageous, due to worsening economic insecurity. This increased exposure to women in employment, and undermined gender stereotypes.

(2014) Journal of Southern African Studies 40:5, 991-998

(2014) Gender & Development 22:1, 75-90.

This paper examines how single-sex and co-education affect girls' and boys' gender beliefs and relations.


It challenges assumptions that single-sex education is necessarily better at enhancing girls' self-confidence and protecting them from intimidation and male violence.

This paper critically reviews the World Development Report on gender equality.

(2012) Development 55:1, 134-137

with Sylvia Chant (2012) Environment and Urbanization 22:2, 353-369.

This paper details the strategic use of sexual relationships in bolstering the economic well-being of young low-income women and men in The Gambia, West Africa.

Book Reviews

I meet with leading experts to discuss global politics and inequalities

(iTunes; SpotifySoundcloud; RSS). 

Recent episodes:

  • Career and Family. Professor Claudia Goldin

  • Strong states & strong societies -> liberty & prosperity. Professor Daron Acemoglu

  • Capitalism. Professor Branko Milanovic

  • How China escaped the poverty trap. Dr Yuen Yuen Ang

  • Bangladesh's unexpected success. Dr Naomi Hossain

  • Behavioural development economics. Dr Gautam Rao.




at King's College London

Home: CV


Postgraduate module

We explore the causes of inequalities, and how marginalised groups mobilise for justice. Reading list here.


Postgraduate module

What fosters economic growth? What explains the origins and persistence of political institutions? What has caused crises (famine, climate breakdown, debt). Tiny textbook here


Undergraduate module

We discuss the drivers of inclusive growth in emerging economies. Topics include collective mobilisation, governance, migration, trade, and taxation.


Room 506, Bush House North East, Strand, London, UK

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