Topher McDougal

Topher McDougal
Phone: (619) 260-7927
Office: Kroc Institute for Peace & Jus 275

Associate Professor

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

Topher McDougal, PhD, is Associate Professor of Economic Development at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, where he teaches courses on the relationship between economic development and peacebuilding, sustainable development, humanitarianism, research methodologies, and evaluation.

Dr. McDougal’s research focuses on the microeconomic causes and consequences of armed violence (including trade patterns and urban violence), as well as illicit trades (especially in small arms). He has been an invited scholar-in-residence at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and Tecnológico de Monterrey, and was a recipient of MIT’s prestigious Presidential Doctoral Fellowship. His recent book, The Political Economy of Rural-Urban Conflict: Predation, Production, and Peripheries (Oxford, 2017), makes the novel argument that trade networks shape the nature and extent of civil war violence. His articles have appeared in peer-reviewed outlets including Economic Geography, Political Geography, Defence and Peace Economics, Economics of Peace & Security, Stability, and others. He has also contributed to popular outlets including The Huffington Post, The Atlantic, and Americas Quarterly.

In addition to consulting for various organizations including the World Bank, Mercy Corps, and the International Rescue Committee, Dr. McDougal is a research affiliate at the Centre on Conflict, Development & Peacebuilding (CCDP) at the Graduate Institute for International & Development Studies (Geneva, Switzerland), a principal of the Small Arms Data Observatory (SADO), and serves on the board of Education Haïti, a US-based non-profit dedicated to improving post-secondary education opportunities in Haiti.

To access Topher's blog, click here.

Areas of Expertise

Economics of violence, Illicit markets, Research design, Quantitative methods

Scholarly Work

McDougal, Topher L., Athena R. Kolbe, Robert Muggah, and Nicholas Marsh, “Ammunition Leakage from Military to Civilian Markets: Market Price Evidence from Haiti, 2004-2012,” Defence and Peace Economics, 2018. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10242694.2018.1492226.

McDougal, Topher L., The Political Economy of Rural-Urban Conflict: Predation, Production, and Peripheries, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

McDougal, Topher L., Talia Hagerty, Lisa Inks, and Stone Conroy, “The Effect of Farmer-Pastoralist Violence on State-level Internal Revenue Generation in Nigeria: A Modified Synthetic Control Analysis Approach,” Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, 2017. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/peps-2017-0010.

Ferguson, Neil T.N., Maren M. Michaelsen, and Topher L. McDougal. “From Pax Narcotica to Guerra Publica: Explaining Civilian Violence in Mexico’s Illicit Drug War.” In Economic Aspects of Genocides, Other Mass Atrocities, and Their Prevention, edited by Charles H. Anderton and Jurgen Brauer. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

McDougal, Topher L. and Raul Caruso. “Is there a relationship between wartime violence and postwar agricultural development outcomes? The case of concessions and community grants in Mozambique,” Political Geography 50 (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2015.09.001.

McDougal, Topher L.Some Observations on the Practical Peace Scholar,” Business, Peace, and Sustainable Development 5 (2015).

McDougal, Topher L. “Estimating the Size of the Illicit Small Arms Economy in San Diego”, Working Paper 201511-01 Small Arms Data Observatory, 2015.

McDougal, Topher L., Talia Hagerty, Lisa Inks, Claire-Lorentz Ugo-Ike, Caitriona Dowd, Stone Conroy, and Daniel Ogabiela. “The Effect of Farmer-Pastoralist Violence on Income: New Survey Evidence from Nigeria’s Middle Belt States,” The Economics of Peace and Security Journal 10:1 (2015).

McDougal, Topher L., Talia Hagerty, Lisa Inks, Claire-Lorentz Ugo-Ike, Caitriona Dowd, and Stone Conroy. “The Macroeconomic Benefits of Farmer-Pastoralist Peace in Nigeria’s Middle Belt: An Input-Output Analysis Approach,” The Economics of Peace and Security Journal 10:1, (2015).

McDougal, Topher L. and Lars Almquist. “The Effects of Agricultural Cooperatives on Land Conflicts, Violence, and Community Trust: Household-Level Evidence from Rural Burundi,” Economics of Peace and Security Journal 9:2 (2014).

McDougal, Topher L., Athena Kolbe, Robert Muggah, and Nicholas Marsh.“Ammunition Leakage from Military to Civilian Markets: Market Price Evidence from Haiti, 2004-2012” Working Paper 201407-01, Small Arms Data Observatory, 2014.

McDougal, Topher L., David A. Shirk, Robert Muggah, and John H. Patterson. “The Way of the Gun: Estimating Firearms Traffic Across the U.S.-Mexico Border”, Journal of Economic Geography, 2014.

Conroy, Stephen J. and Topher L. McDougal “Editorial: Addressing the Call for Leadership for Peace and Prosperity,” Business, Peace, and Sustainable Development 3 (2014), 3-12.

McDougal, Topher L.Stability and the Economy: Cooperative Game Theoretic Implications for Economic Policy in a Dual-Sector Economy,” Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, 2:2 (2013).

McDougal, Topher L.Law of the Landless: The Dalit Bid for Land Redistribution in Gujarat, India,” Law & Development Review 4:1 (2011), 141-167.

McDougal, Topher L.Predation and Production in a Core-Periphery Model: A Note,” Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy 17:1 (2011).

Full list of publications.

Areas of Interest

  • Econometrics
  • Research and evaluation design
  • Detection and quantification of illicit trades (small arms, sex trafficking)
  • Economic causes and consequences of conflict
  • Rural-urban, intra-urban, and inter-urban violence

Office Hours

Section 10
9/03 - 12/11 W 9:00 am - 12:00 pmKroc Institute for Peace & Jus - 275
9/03 - 12/12 TH 1:00 pm - 3:00 pmKroc Institute for Peace & Jus - 275

Syllabi