Moshi Optat Herman
Department of Sociology
Providence, RI 02912
Fax: (401) 863-3213
Year of Entry: 2007
B.A in Economics (Honors), in French, minor in Mathematics, Middlebury College, 2006.
M.A in Sociology, Brown University, 2009.
Areas of Interest:
Social Demography; International Political Economy; Global Development Theory; Global Health; The Life Course; Measures of Development; Africa’s Engagement with International Financial Institutions; Global Inequalities; Quantitative Methods; Comparative Methods; Africa.
Moshi Optat Herman has research interests which lie at the intersection of Demography, International Political Economy, and Development. His substantive research topics are: Global Health, Global Development Theory, The Life Course, Measures of Development, Development Policies, Africa’s Engagement with International Financial Institutions (IFIs), and Global Inequalities.
Broadly speaking, his research agenda attempts to contribute an answer to the following perennial question: How are livelihoods of populations in the Global South (and of socio-economically disadvantaged groups in the Global North) affected by socioeconomic changes that global development initiatives, globalization, and global economic integration create? As part of this question, he is also interested in using the Life Course perspective to explore the impact of social change on individuals’ wellbeing and decision-making. He has also been studying multidimensional approaches for measuring poverty and well-being, such as the Capability Approach.
His dissertation is titled “Political-economic origins of demographic trends: Liberalization and within-country health inequalities in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, 1985-2005.” This project uses micro/demographic data to compare temporal trends of public health outcomes in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia in the last three decades. The project examines the manner in which concurrent implementation of economic and political liberalization has transformed social arrangements and capabilities for collective action leading to disparate social outcomes across these countries; and especially, between social groups and between geographical spaces within these four southeast Africa countries. In addition, while comparing Tanzania and Zambia, the project investigates the correlation of public health indicators with different regimes of macroeconomic stabilization/austerity programs, starting from hard structural adjustment in the late 1980s to the most recent “adjustment with a human face” initiatives. Finally, still focusing on the public health sector, the project provides a detailed exploration of Tanzania to highlight how the local context, specifically the strength of civil society and the capacity of the state to allocate resources efficiently, mediates the nature of intended and unintended outcomes stemming from the engagements between sub-Saharan African countries and International Financial Institutions (IFIs).