Leadership Team

Catherine (Kate) Weaver
Catherine (Kate) Weaver

IPD Executive Director of Operations

Associate Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs
ceweaver@austin.utexas.edu
(512) 232-7425

Kate Weaver is the Executive Director of Operations at IPD and Associate Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. She is also a distinguished scholar at the Strauss Center for International Security & Law. She previously served as Chair of the UT Graduate Assembly and as the LBJ School’s Associate Dean for Students, Associate Dean for Academics, and graduate advisor for the Ph.D. and MGPS programs. She earned her PhD in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and also formerly worked as a research fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C..Dr. Weaver’s research examines transparency in international development aid, reforming global economic governance, and the politics of development data. She has developed methods to track and dynamically geomap aid and climate adaptation finance. Dr. Weaver is author of the award-winning Hypocrisy Trap: The World Bank and the Poverty of Reform (Princeton University Press), and numerous articles and book chapters in outlets such as International OrganizationReview of International Political EconomyReview of International OrganizationsEthics and International AffairsGlobal Governance, Cambridge University Press, and Oxford University Press. She is co-editor of Handbook of Global Economic Governance (with Manuela Moschella, Routledge) and International Political Economy and the Transatlantic Divide (with Nicola Phillips, Routledge).Dr. Weaver is currently completing a book manuscript that builds a theory of irrational exuberance and hype cycles in international development ideas, using an a 14-year case study of the international aid transparency movement. She is also the Faculty Research Director at IPD for two other research projects on Data4Development and Development Finance Institutions.In her spare time, Dr. Weaver serves on the Board of Advocates for the Baylor Collaborative on Hungry and Poverty. She also formerly on the Board of Directors of Bread for the World, and is currently collaborating with many NGOs in the aid transparency space, including Publish What You Fund. She is a voracious fiction reader, a daily NYT games completer, hiker, world traveler, and gourmet chef-wannabe.

Rachel Wellhausen
Rachel Wellhausen

IPD Director of Faculty Affiliates Program

IPD Faculty Research Director
Associate Professor, Department of Government
The University of Texas at Austin
rwellhausen@utexas.edu
https://www.rwellhausen.com/

Dr. Rachel L. Wellhausen is an Associate Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, and serves as both Director of IPD’s Faculty Affiliates Program and Faculty Research Director for the projects on Exiting Russia and Garbage IR. Dr. Wellhauseb received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, her M.Sc. with Distinction in European Political Economy: Transition from the London School of Economics. She is a graduate of the Honors College at the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Economics, a B.A. in English with Honors, and a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Russian Studies, German Studies, and Political Science).

Dr. Wellhausen’s primary field of interest is international political economy, and specifically the political economy of international investment and finance. Her research agenda speaks to developing nations’ policy flexibility given economic globalization, and the ways in which international market actors understand and manage resulting political risks. published in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, International Organization, Journal of Politics, British Journal of Political Science, International Studies Quarterly, Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Review of International OrganizationsAEA Papers and Proceedings, Cambridge University Press, MIT Press, and other outlets. She received the Best Book Award (2015-2017) from the International Political Economy Society for The Shield of Nationality: When Governments Break Contracts with Foreign Firms (Cambridge University Press 2015).  She also received the Michael Wallerstein award for the best paper in political economy (American Political Science Association 2016) and the Mancur Olson award for the best dissertation in political economy (American Political Science Association 2011-2012). You can find Dr Wellhausen’s Google Scholar profile here.

Dan Nielson
Dan Nielson

IPD Executive Director of Research

Professor, Department of Government
dan.nielson@utexas.edu
(512) 232-7211
BAT 3.134

Daniel Nielson is Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin and Director of Graduate Studies for the Government Department’s doctoral program. He is also Executive Director of Research at UT-Austin’s Innovations for Peace and Development. He is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Brigham Young University. In 2018 he was a visiting research fellow at Princeton University’s Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance. He is a co-founder and former Chief Social Scientist of AidData. He is also co-founder and former Director of the Global Politics Lab at Brigham Young University. He received his PhD in international affairs from the University of California – San Diego in 1997.

His research focuses on international development, foreign aid, the control of corruption, and international organization. He specializes in the use of transnational field experiments to learn about causal effects in political economy. He is co-author of Global Shell Games: Experiments in Transnational Relations, Crime, and Terrorism (Cambridge University Press 2014) and co-editor of Delegation and Agency in International Organizations (Cambridge 2006). He has also authored and co-authored articles in Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesAmerican Journal of Political ScienceInternational OrganizationJournal of PoliticsBritish Journal of Political Science, Science Advances, World DevelopmentComparative Political StudiesInternational Studies QuarterlyUniversity of Pennsylvania Law Review, and Strategic Management Journal, among other journals.

Sara Lowe
Sara Lowe

IPD Assistant Director

sara.lowe@austin.utexas.edu
346-260-8043

Sara  joined IPD as Assistant Director in September 2023.  She graduated from UT Austin in 2021 with an IRG degree.  During her time at UT, she was an IPD research assistant and team lead for the Governance team lead for several years. She frequently credits IPD with being the most formative  professional development and preparation for post-grad life she received at UT!  After graduation, she worked as a program coordinator at Proximity International, an international development firm based in Jordan, where she provided program management and field team backstopping to monitoring and evaluation (M&E) programs funded by USAID, UNHCR, and other donors in the Middle East, particularly in northeastern Syria. She’s thrilled to return to the research space and especially to IPD. She’s looking forward to supporting the lab during an exciting time of growth and to fostering a supportive environment for students’ academic, professional, and personal development. Outside of work, you can typically find her reading, trying to convince an unsuspecting bystander to attend an improv show with her, or happy hour-ing with friends.

Faculty Research Directors

Nathan Jensen
Nathan Jensen

IPD Faculty Research Director

Professor of Government
The University of Texas at Austin
natemjensen@austin.utexas.edu
https://www.natemjensen.com/
Google Scholar Page

Dr. Nate Jensen is a Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas-Austin.  He earned his PhD in Political Science from Yale University in 2003. Dr. Jensen is the Faculty Research Director for the IPD projects  on Renewable Energy and Sweetheart Tax Deals. He only speaks in the third person for the purposes of website bios and has a sardonic Twitter presence. He was previously an associate professor in the Department of International Business at George Washington University (2014-2016) and associate professor in the Political Science Department at Washington University in St. Louis (2002-2014). He teaches courses and conducts research on government economic development strategies, firm non-market strategies and business-government relations,  the politics of oil and natural resources, political risk in emerging markets, trade policy, and international institutions.  Not all at once.

Michael Findley
Michael Findley

IPD Co-Founder and Faculty Research Director

Erwin Centennial Professor of Government
The University of Texas at Austin
mikefindley@austin.utexas.edu
https://www.michael-findley.com/
Google Scholar page

Dr. Mike Findley is the Erwin Centennial Professor of Government at UT Austin. He is also Professor (by courtesy) at the McCombs School of Business and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Dr. Findley co-founded IPD with Dr. Kate Weaver in 2013, and currently serves as the Faculty Research Directors for numerous IPD research projects, including Banking Bad, Boating Bad, Data4Peace, Policing and Urban Security, and Data4Defense.  In addition to his leadership at IPD, Dr. Findley is a Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar, a Provost’s Teaching Fellow, and a member of EGAP.

Findley conducts interdisciplinary research on political violence, international development, illicit finance, ethics, and methodology. He publishes in leading outlets including Cambridge University PressAmerican Journal of Political ScienceInternational Organization, Annual Review of Political Science, Strategic Management JournalJournal of International Business StudiesPenn Law ReviewPublic ChoiceAmerican Statistician, and Complexity. He currently conducts fieldwork in Colombia, Kenya, DRC, Sudan, South Sudan, South Africa, and Uganda.

Findley’s policy work includes collaborations with the World Bank, USAID, African Development Bank, UN FACTI, UNICEF, UN Peacebuilding Fund, UN Development Program, International Aid Transparency Initiative, and many aid recipient country governments. Findley is also co-founder and President of Evaluasi, a startup focused on improving the impact of corporate social responsibility.

Dr. Michael (Mike) Denly)
Dr. Michael (Mike) Denly)

IPD Faculty Research Director (Non-Resident)

Assistant Professor of Government
Texas A&M Bush School of Government
Google Scholar Page

Dr. Mike Denly is an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and a non-resident Faculty Affiliate of IPD. His substantive research focuses on the political economy of development, with an emphasis on corruption, foreign aid, and natural resources. Mike also has a separate methodological research agenda that centers on external validity. His work appears in the Annual Review of Political Science and Journal of Conflict Resolution. Outside of academia, Mike has worked and/or consulted for the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, USAID, US State Department, and the EU Commission. Mike completed his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2022 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse for the 2022-2023 academic year. Mike also holds a dual M.A. in Development Management and Policy from Georgetown University and Universidad Nacional de San Martín in Argentina, an M.Sc. in Public Policy and Human Development from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Denver. Dr. Denly formerly served as a project team leader and instructor for the IPD Research Practicum.

Faculty Affiliates

We are in the process of restructuring our Faculty Affiliates Program, under the direction of Dr. Rachel Wellhausen.  Stay tuned for announcements!We are in the process of restructuring our Faculty Affiliates Program, under the direction of Dr. Rachel Wellhausen.  Stay tuned for announcements!

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