Topher McDougal

Topher McDougal


Phone: (619)260-7927

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Topher McDougal

Asst. Prof., Economic Development/Peacebuilding
Peace Studies
Economics of civil war
Urban Resilience, Private Firms, Rural-urban Trade

Topher McDougal is Assistant Professor in Economic Development & Peacebuilding at the Kroc School of Peace Studies (KSPS) at the University of San Diego. He is also a Research Fellow at the Centre on Conflict, Development, & Peacebuilding (CCDP) at the Graduate Institute for International & Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland. Topher teaches the Kroc School courses "Development & Conflict," "Sustainable Development," "Foundations of Peace & Justice Studies," "Sustainable Development," and "Research Methodology for Peace Studies & Practice." Topher also serves as KSPS representative at USD's Center for Peace & Commerce (CPC), a joint venture of KSPS and the School of Business Administration.

An economic geographer by training, Topher has consulted for various organizations including the World Bank, Humanitarian Policy & Conflict Research (HPCR) International, and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), on private sector development, urban economics, and public finance in postwar and developing countries. He has conducted field work in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and along India's Red Corridor, where the Maoist insurgency is based, which led to his doctoral dissertation, "The Political Economy of Rural-Urban Conflict: Lessons from West Africa and India," which he hopes to publish as a book.

Topher has a PhD in International Economic Development from MIT's International Development Group, where his dissertation committee included Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Diane Davis, and Roger Petersen. Topher also has a Master of International Development, also from MIT/IDG, an MS in Geography from the University of New Mexico, and a BA in Philosophy from Swarthmore College. He has a graduate certificate in Humanitarian Studies from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

To access Topher's blog, go to

Educational Background

  • PhD, International Economic Development, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • MCP, International Development, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • MS, Geography, University of New Mexico
  • BA, Swarthmore College


  • McDougal, Topher L., “‘It’s the Economy, Stupid’: The Trilemma of Addressing Economic Violence at War’s End.” In Justice and Economic Violence in Transition, Springer Press, 2013 (forthcoming).
  • McDougal, Topher L. and Neil T. Ferguson, “Land Inequality and Conflict Onset: Cooperative Game Theoretic Implications for Economic Policy.” Post-2015 Global Thematic Consultation on Inequalities, UN Women/ UNICEF, 2012. Available at:
  • McDougal, Topher L. and Raul Caruso, “Wartime Violence and Post-Conflict Political Mobilization in Mozambique.” Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, 18(3), 2012. Available at:
  • McDougal, Topher L., “Law of the Landless: The Dalit Bid for Land Redistribution in Gujarat, India.” Law & Development Review 4(1), Article 4, 2011. Available at:
  • McDougal, Topher L., “Insurgent Violence and the Rural Urban Divide: The Case of Maoist India.” In Ethnic Conflict, Civil War and the Cost of Conflict. Caruso, Raul, ed. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing, 2011, pp.69-98.
  • McDougal, Topher L., “Production and Predation in a Core-Periphery Model: A Note.” Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, 17(1), Article 2, 2011.
  • McDougal, Topher L., “How Production Firms Adapt to Civil War: The Case of Liberia,” WIDER Working Paper 2010/69, United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), 2010.
  • McDougal, Topher L., “How Production Firms Adapt to War,” Economists for Peace and Security Quarterly 21(2), 2009: 1, 12-14.
  • McDougal, Topher L., “The Liberian State of Emergency: What do Civil War and State-Led Industrialization Have in Common?” Journal of Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy 14(3), 2009.
  • Lidow, Nicholai and Topher L. McDougal, “Violent Conflict in Town and Country,” MIT International Review, 17 February, 2009.
  • McDougal, Topher L., “Change How We Trade with Postwar Countries,” in Advice to President Obama, Cambridge, MA: MIT Center for International Studies, 2008.
  • McDougal, Topher L., “Development During Crisis: Promoting Asset-Building in Protracted Refugee Situations,” MIT International Review, Spring, 2007: 20-31.
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