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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 argue and find 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 won an APSA REP section best dissertation award for this work.

She obtained my 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 in the diversity, equity and inclusion committee of the political science department.

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.