Assistant Professor

About Austin Wright

Austin L. Wright is an assistant professor of public policy at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

His research on substate conflict largely focuses on the political economy of insurgent violence, examining how rebel groups adopt new technologies of war to undermine state rivals. He also studies the political economy of crime and pandemic response. His work is supported by the Becker Friedman Institute, National Science Foundation, World Bank, United Nations, and Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts.  He is a faculty affiliate of the Pearson Institute and Empirical Studies of Conflict Project.

At Harris, Austin primarily teaches in the Applied Statistics Core, with a focus on using causal inference tools to better understand public policy interventions. He has received several teaching prizes, including the 2017 Junior Faculty of the Year Award (Harris) as well as the 2015 George Kateb Prize for Best Preceptor in Politics (Princeton). He was also selected to give the 2021 Last Lecture for graduating students. During my time at Harris, he has founded and currently direct four credential programs, linking students from a diverse set of educational and professional backgrounds with the rigorous programming and analytical training we provide to our degree students. 

He received his BA in Government and Sociology and BS in Communication Sciences from The University of Texas at Austin, where he was the first student in university history to successfully defend three senior theses before graduation. He received his PhD in Politics from Princeton University with support from a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Before attending graduate school, he was a Teach For America corps member in New Orleans, Louisiana where he taught mathematics.  

For academic year 2021-2022, Wright is on leave and also a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Yale University School of Management. For academic year 2022-2023, he is a faculty affiliate of the The Georg Walter Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy at Yale University.