Topher McDougal

Topher McDougal
Phone: (619) 260-7927
Office: Kroc Inst for Peace & Justice 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 an associate professor at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego. He is also a research affiliate at the Centre on Conflict, Development, & Peacebuilding at the Graduate Institute for International & Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, and a principal of the Small Arms Data Observatory (SADO).

McDougal teaches courses on the relationship between economic development and peacebuilding, and research methodologies. His research focuses broadly on the microeconomic causes and consequences of armed violence, including rural-urban trade patterns in conflict-affected societies; illicit trades, especially in small arms; and urban violence.

An economic geographer by training, Topher has consulted for various organizations including the World Bank, Mercy Corps, Humanitarian Policy & Conflict Research (HPCR) International, and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), on private sector development, urban economics, public finance in postwar and developing countries, and economic cost of violence. His articles have appeared in Economic Geography; Political GeographyEconomics of Peace & Security Journal; Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy; Law & Development Review; Stability; Business, Peace, and Sustainable Development; among others. His research has been featured in Foreign Policy, The AtlanticHuffington Post, and others. His forthcoming book is The Political Economy of Rural-Urban Conflict: Predation, Production, and Peripheries (Oxford University Press).

To access Topher's blog, click here.

Areas of Expertise

Economics of civil war

Scholarly Work

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