Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics



  • Professor David Skarbek

    David Skarbek

    Director of the Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Professor of Political Science and Political Economy

    David Skarbek is Professor of Political Science and Political Economy at Brown University. His research studies how extralegal governance institutions form, operate, and evolve. He has published extensively on the informal institutions that govern life in prisons in California and around the globe. His work has appeared in leading journals in political science, economics, and criminology, including in the American Political Science Review, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Journal of Law, Economics & Organization, and Journal of Criminal Justice. His work has been featured widely in national and international media outlets, such as the Atlantic, BBC, Business Insider, the Economist, Forbes, the Independent, and the Times. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University in 2010.

    His book, The Social Order of the Underworld: How Prison Gangs Govern the American Penal System (Oxford University Press), received the American Political Science Association’s 2016 William H. Riker Award for the best book in political economy in the previous three years. It was also awarded the 2014 Best Publication Award from the International Association for the Study of Organized Crime and was shortlisted for the British Sociological Association’s 2014 Ethnography Award.

    Skarbek's second book, The Puzzle of Prison Order: Why Life Behind Bars Varies around the World (Oxford University Press), won the Outstanding Book Award from sections of both the American Society of Criminology and the Academy of Criminal Justice Studies. It was also co-winner of the Best Book Award from the International Association of Organized Crime.

Associate Director

  • Melvin Rogers

    Melvin Rogers

    Associate Director, Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Professor of Political Science

    Melvin Rogers is Professor of Political Science at Brown University. He has wide-ranging interests in contemporary democratic theory and the history of American and African-American political thought. 

    He is the author of The Undiscovered Dewey: Religion, Morality, and the Ethos of Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2008) and The Darkened Light of Faith: Race, Democracy, and Freedom in African American Political Thought (Princeton University Press, 2023). He is the editor of John Dewey, The Public and its Problems (Ohio University Press, 2016) and co-editor (with Jack Turner) of African American Political Thought: A Collected History (University of Chicago Press, 2021), a collection of 30 essays on figures in the tradition of African American political thoughtHis articles have appeared in major academic journals and popular venues such as Dissentthe AtlanticPublic Seminar, and Boston Review

    In addition to his published writings, Professor Rogers serves as the co-editor of the Oxford New Histories of Philosophy book series. The series focuses on the unattended voices in the history of philosophy.
    He received an M.Phil in Political Thought and Intellectual History from Cambridge in 2000 and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University in 2006. 


PPE Professors

  • Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Political Economy

    Ryan Doody

    Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Political Economy


    Ryan Doody is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Brown University. Previously he held positions at the University of San Diego, UNC Chapel Hill, the University of Groningen, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Ryan received his PhD in philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work deals with questions of rationality and value. He has a specialism in decision theory. Ryan's current research focuses on incommensurability, social risk, and public policy. 

  • Professor Emily Skarbek

    Emily Skarbek

    Associate Professor, Research, Director of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Research Seminar

    Emily Skarbek is Associate Research Professor in the Political Theory Project at Brown University. She earned her Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University in 2009. Her research examines civil society, governance, and history of economic thought. Her work has been published in academic journals such as Public Choice, Journal of Institutional Economics, and American Journal of Economics and Sociology. In 2014, she was awarded the annual Gordon Tullock prize for best article published in Public Choice by a junior scholar. She is also a contributing author to several books including After Katrina: The Political Economy of Disaster and Community Rebound and Hayek and the Modern World.

Postdoctoral Fellows

  • PPE Center Postdoctoral Research Associate, Pawel Charasz, PhD, Political Science, Duke University

    Pawel Charasz

    PPE Center Postdoctoral Research Associate, Pawel Charasz, PhD, Political Science, Duke University

    Pawel’s research interests lie at the intersection of comparative politics, political economy, and economic history, with a geographic focus on Central and Eastern Europe. He studies the long-run effects of institutions and political processes on economic and political development, with an emphasis on cities and municipalities. Pawel earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from Duke University. His dissertation explores the role of historical city charters in promoting development. Pawel’s work has been published in European Union Politics and received the SAGE Award for the Best Article Published in EUP in 2021. His research has been supported by, among others, the Economic History Association, and the Social Science Research Institute at Duke University.



  • PPE Center Postdoctoral Research Associate, Kaitlyn Chriswell, PhD in Government, Harvard University

    Kaitlyn Chriswell

    PPE Center Postdoctoral Research Associate, Kaitlyn Chriswell, PhD in Government, Harvard University

    Kaitlyn is interested in the intersection of political violence, civil society, and democracy with a regional interest in Latin America. In her book project, she asks how the presence of criminal groups affects whether and how citizens interact with the state. Her analysis is based on a mixed-methods study of municipalities across Mexico. Kaitlyn earned her PhD in Government from Harvard University and a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from Northwestern University. Her research has been supported by the U.S. Institute of Peace, National Science Foundation, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, among others.

  • Durr

    Bréond Durr

    PPE Center Postdoctoral Research Associate, Bréond Durr, Ph.D. from Harvard University

    Bréond is a philosopher whose interests are in the legal, social, and political dimensions of the built-environment. His current research focuses on the material and symbolic elements of our punitive practices. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University and B.A. from the University of Southern California

  • PPE Center Postdoctoral Research Associate, Gabriella Levy

    Gabriella Levy

    PPE Center Postdoctoral Research Associate, Gabriella Levy

    Gabriella Levy is a political scientist whose research explores the ways in which people interpret, evaluate, and respond to various forms of political violence, ranging from wartime civilian targeting to vigilantism to extortion of migrants. Her work focuses on Latin America; primarily uses survey methodology; and draws on research in international relations, comparative politics, and political psychology. Her research is published or forthcoming in the Journal of Politics and Comparative Political Studies. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at Duke University in the summer of 2023.

Incoming Postdoctoral Fellows

  •  Tarana Chauhan

    Tarana Chauhan

    PPE Center Postdoctoral Research Associate

    Tarana Chauhan is an applied micro economist studying questions at the intersection of labor, gender and development, and climate change and development. Her research examines the distributional effects of various events, such as economic policy changes or extreme weather events. Employing econometric techniques on publicly available datasets, these papers rigorously evaluate current policies and identify potential gaps. Before the Ph.D., she helped evaluate a program on maternal and child health and nutrition with the International Food Policy Research Institute in India. She completed my Master's in Development Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and received a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Delhi (Lady Shri Ram College for Women). She enjoys learning new dance styles and hiking. 


  • Maximiliano Garcia

    Maximiliano Garcia

    PPE Center Postdoctoral Research Associate

    Hi! I am Max Garcia, 6th year PhD student at Boston University. I am an applied microeconomist, working on Development, Political Economy and Environmental Economics. I completed my BA and MA in Economics at the University of Chile. 

    I am currently investigating how climate change impacts are mediated by institutions. Starting from the analysis of the institutions governing water usage and property in Chile, I show the effects of property rights enforcement on the distribution of water under private property. Climate change is expected to increase the frequency, length and intensity of events of water scarcity. If you want to know more, please reach out!

Graduate Fellows

  • Marc Hewitt

    Marc Hewitt

    PPE Center Graduate Fellow

    Marc is from Vancouver, British Columbia. He received his B.A. in philosophy from UBC in 2015 and his M.A. in theology from Regent College in 2018. His main philosophical interests are in political philosophy, ethics, and epistemology.

Center Staff

Governing Board