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Ada Johnson-Kanu


PhD, University of California, Merced 2021


My research interests are in comparative politics and political economy. I am specifically interested in how events (historical and contemporary) shape distributive politics in developing countries and new democracies. My current research I highlight the importance of historical and colonial legacies on long-term state development. I 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.

I 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, I teach courses on comparative politics and political economy. My service to the department currently includes serving in the diversity, equity and inclusion committee.