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Ada Johnson-Kanu

PhD, University of California, Merced 2021

Dr Johnson-Kanu's research interests are in comparative politics and political economy. She is specifically interested in how events (historical and contemporary) shape distributive politics in developing countries and new democracies. In her current research, she highlights the importance of historical and colonial legacies on long-term state development. She argues and finds that those groups that gained early entry into the civil service during the colonial era – due in particular to advantages in colonial-era exposure to education – enjoy larger than proportional representation within the service today, despite post-colonial policies intended to combat this phenomenon. She was awarded the APSA REP section best dissertation award for this work in 2022.

She obtained a PhD in political science from the University of California, Merced, with a major concentration in Political Institutions and Political economy. At the University of Kentucky, she teaches courses on comparative politics and political economy. She currently serves on the graduate committee of the political science department.

Research Interests:
Comparative Politics
political economy
African politics
Economic history
Selected Publications:

de Kadt, Daniel, Ada Johnson-Kanu, and Melissa Sands (Forthcoming). State violence, party formation, and electoral accountability: The political legacy of the Marikana massacre, American Political Science Review.