School of International Service
Additional Positions at AUResearch Fellow, Social Science Research Council (2012-13)
Research Affiliate, MIT Center for International Studies
- Dr. Esser's research examines development aid and governance in the Global South, in particular in conflict cities, as well as global health policy emergence and funding priorities. He also pursues an interest in discourses and Pragmatism in international development theories and practices. He has conducted field research in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, and most recently in Mexico. His work has been published in World Development, Third World Quarterly, the Journal of Modern African Studies, Environment and Urbanization, Global Public Health (forthcoming) the Journal of Social Policy (forthcoming), Urban Studies (forthcoming), Ethics & International Affairs, Critical Planning, the Journal of Business Ethics and Encyclopaedia Iranica. Dr. Esser was a SPURS Research Fellow at MIT in 2003-04 and a Carlo Schmid Fellow in the International Labour Office in 2001-02 and, in 2006-08, spent two years working for UNESCAP in Bangkok and at UNDP Headquarters in New York. A former grantee of the British Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the German National Academic Foundation, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), he currently holds a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship on Drugs, Security and Democracy (DSD) of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). He will be an Academic Resident at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in June 2013.
DegreesPhD, Development Studies; MSc, Development Management (Dist.), London School of Economics and Political Science
Favorite Spot on Campus:Woods-Brown Amphitheater
Favorite Place in Washington DC:Rock Creek Park
Book Currently Reading:Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory, by Peter Hessler (Harper Collins 2010)
Languages Spoken:Spanish, German and some rusty French
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Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities
- "Tracing Poverty and Inequality in International Development Discourses: An Algorithmic and Visual Analysis of Agencies’ Annual Reports and Occasional White Papers, 1978-2010" (with B. Williams), accepted for publication and forthcoming in Journal of Social Policy, 2014.
- "The Political Economy of Post-Invasion Kabul, Afghanistan: Urban Restructuring Beyond the North-South Divide," accepted for publication and forthcoming in Urban Studies, 2013.
- "Ageing as a Global Public Health Challenge: From Complexity Reduction to Aid Effectiveness" (with P. Ward), accepted for publication and forthcoming in Global Public Health, 2013.
- "Social Media and Global Development Rituals: A Content Analysis of Blogs and Tweets on the 2010 MDG Summit" (with T. Denskus), Third World Quarterly 34(3), pp. 409-424, 2013.
- "‘When We Launched the Government’s Agenda…’: Aid Agencies and Local Politics in Urban Africa," The Journal of Modern African Studies 50(3), pp. 397-420, 2012.
- "Does Global Health Funding Respond to Recipients' Needs? Comparing Public and Private Donors' Allocations in 2005-2007" (with K. Keating Bench), World Development 39(8), pp. 1271-1280, 2011.
- "Postwar Political Restructuring in Freetown and Kabul: Theoretical Limits and the Test Case for Multiscalar Governance," Critical Planning 16, pp. 80-97, 2009.
- "More Money, Less Cure: Why Global Health Assistance Needs Radical Restructuring," Ethics & International Affairs 23(2), pp. 225-234, 2009.
- "Kabul: Urban Politics from Mohammad Zaher Shah to Hamid Karzai," in: E. Yarshater (ed.), Encyclopædia Iranica (Volume XV, Fascicle 3), New York, NY: Encyclopædia Iranica Foundation, pp. 306-310, 2009.
- "Who governs Kabul? Explaining Urban Politics in a Post-War Capital City," Cities and Fragile States Analytical Paper 43 (series 2), London: LSE Crisis States Research Programme, 2009.
- "Managing for Compliance and Integrity in Practice" (with A. Rasche), in S. Carter, S. Clegg, M. Kornberger, S. Laske and M. Messner (eds.), Business Ethics As Practice: Representation, Reflexivity and Performance, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 107-127, 2007.
- "Target Kabul: human insecurity in the Afghan capital," in humansecurity-cities.org (eds.), Human Security for an Urban Century: Local Challenges, Global Perspectives, Ottawa: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, pp. 14-15, 2007.
- "From Stakeholder Management to Stakeholder Accountability: Applying Habermasian Discourse Ethics to Accountability Research" (with A. Rasche), Journal of Business Ethics 65(3), pp. 251-267, 2006.
Honors, Awards, and Fellowships
- Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, Academic Resident (2013)
- SSRC Program on Drugs, Security and Development (DSD), Research Fellow (2012-13)
- MIT Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS), Research Fellow (2003-2004)
- LSE Development Studies Institute, Best Performance Prize (2003)
- LSE Graduate School, Graduate Merit Award (2002)
- Carlo Schmid Program (Robert Bosch Foundation, DAAD, German National Academic Foundation), Fellow in the International Labour Office, Job Creation and Enterprise Development Department (2001-02)
- Aiding Urban Poverty Reduction in the Global South, 2000-2010: What Explains Inter-Agency Variation in the Geographic Distribution of Funds? (with Aafreen T. Kidwai; Esser and Kidwai contributed equally), paper accepted for the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA (meeting canceled last-minute due to hurricane Isaac), 30 August-2 September 2012.
- Do Social Media Reproduce or Challenge Global Development Rituals? A Content Analysis of Blogs and Tweets on the 2010 MDG Summit (with Tobias Denskus; Denskus and Esser contributed equally), paper accepted the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA (panel held virtually due to hurricane Isaac; video is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyEHgWyqDAM), 30 August-2 September 2012.
- "Systemic Failure: MDG Accountability and Organizational Learning in the United Nations," paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, New York, NY, 24–28 February 2012.
- "Chinese Capital in African Cities: Underground, Overground?," paper presented at "The Ground Beneath Our Feet: Building, Living, and Thinking Underground," American University, Washington, DC, 11 November 2011.
- "Security Scales: Situating Endemic Violence in Kabul, Afghanistan," paper presented at Violent Cities: Challenges of Democracy, Development and Governance in the Urban Global South, Watson Institute, Brown University, Providence, RI, 28–29 April 2011.
- "From National Hub to International Hubris: The Overdetermination of Kabul and the New Politics of Scale in Afghanistan," paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Seattle, WA, 12–16 April 2011.
- "Aid Effectiveness," occasional lecture to newly recruited field staff of USAID’s Office of Democracy and Governance, Washington, DC, November 2010-current.
- "Why Work in International Development Despite the Industry’s Abysmal Track Record?," talk given (in German) as part of a panel on “Taking Initiative for a Better World,” Carlo Schmid Network Annual Meeting, Berlin, 5 November 2010.
- "The Transformative Power of Chinese Investment in Urban Africa: Toward Case Selection" (with Du Liang and Leslie Roe), paper presented at the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC, 2–5 September 2010.
- "How Poverty Trumps Inequality: A Tracer Study of Development Discourse" (with Ben Williams), paper presented at the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC, 2–5 September 2010.
Grants and Sponsored Research
- Social Science Research Council, DSD Fellowship (2012-2013)
- AU School of International Service, Conference Travel Award (2012)
- AU International Travel Award for Faculty (2012)
- AU School of International Service, Dean's Summer Research Award (2012)
- AU School of International Service, Summer Research Grant (2011)
- AU School of International Service, Summer Research Grant (2010)
- German National Academic Foundation, Doctoral Grant for top 1% of German doctoral students (2004-2006)
- Mellon-MIT Program on NGOs and Forced Migration, Research Grant (2004)
- Economic and Social Research Council, +3 Award for Doctoral Studies (2003-2007)
- German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Doctoral Stipend for the UK (2003-04)
- European Recovery Program, Pre-doctoral Grant (2003-04)
- Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust, Grant for research students (2003; declined)
- German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Grant for UK graduate school fees (2002-03)
- "Governance in Sierra Leone," (with D. Keen) pre-visit briefing of the UK House of Commons’ International Development Committee, London, 2 February 2006.
- Certificate: Mediation and Participatory Processes (Program on Negotiation), Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA (May 2004)
- Certificate: Aspects of Public International Law (Euromediterranean Courses of International Law), Bancaja International Centre for Peace and Development, Castellón de la Plana, Spain (September 2002)
- Certificate: External Relations of the European Union (EU International Summer School), Université Libre de Bruxelles with Michigan State University, Brussels, Belgium (July 2001)
Area of Expertise: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, global health, local governance, complex emergencies, post-conflict reconstruction, aid effectiveness, program evaluation, United Nations
Additional Information: Daniel Esser's research has been published in leading academic journals, including World Development, Ethics and International Affairs, Environment and Urbanization, Critical Planning, and the Journal of Business Ethics, among others.
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.
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