I am an Assistant Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy and The College at The University of Chicago. My 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. I also study the political economy of crime and corruption. My work is supported by the Becker Friedman Institute, National Science Foundation, and Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts. I am a faculty affiliate of the Pearson Institute and Empirical Studies of Conflict Project.

At Harris, I primarily teach in the Applied Statistics Core, with a focus on using causal inference tools to better understand public policy interventions. I have 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).

I received my B.A. and B.S. from The University of Texas at Austin and my Ph.D. from Princeton University. Before attending graduate school, I was a Teach For America corps member in New Orleans, Louisiana where I taught mathematics.

I am a father (to three amazing children), a first generation college graduate, an underrepresented minority, a Toyota Land Cruiser fanatic, and an avid fisherman.

HiCN Working Papers Series


Economic Shocks and Rebel Tactics

Austin L. Wright, 

Why do rebels vary their tactics? Some insurgents employ terrorism and hit-and run attacks; others wage conventional wars against state rivals. I argue rebels’ tactical […]