Prof. Dr. Daniel E. Esser

Function: Associate Researcher

Specialization: Development Studies / Human Geography

Work areas:

  • Political Economy Analysis (PEA)
  • Evidence-based policymaking
  • Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL)
  • Sociology of legitimation
  • Security, peace, and fragile statehood
  • Conflict dynamics in Afghanistan, Pakistan

Responsibilities in education and training:

  • Tenured associate professor at American University, Washington, DC, USA


9/2021-8/2023 German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS)
(until 6/2022 German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE))
Senior Researcher in the research programme “Inter- and transnational Cooperation”
since 4/2015 American University, Washington, DC
Associate Professor (tenured)
7/2009–3/2015 American University, Washington, DC
Assistant Professor (tenure track)
1/2009–6/2009 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA
Visiting Professor
1/2008–6/2009 Columbia University, New York
Assistant Clinical Professor
7/2007–7/2008 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), New York
Research Analyst (ICS-10)
7/2006–7/2007 United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Bangkok
Associate Economic Affairs Officer (ICS-9/YP, 2003 NCRE)
1/2006–5/2006 London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), London
Tutorial Fellow
10/2004–07/2005 CARE International UK, Kabul
Governance Advisor
10/2001–08/2002 International Labour Office, Geneva
Carlo Schmid Fellow


  • American Association of Geographers (AAG): Distinguished Service Award, Asian Geography Specialty Group (2019)
  • American University School of International Service: Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award (2015)
  • Rockefeller Foundation: Bellagio Center Residential Fellowship (2013)

Member of

  • American Association of Geographers (AAG): Chair, Development Geographies Specialty Group (2021-2023)
  • Member of the United Kingdom's Development Studies Association (DSA)

Refereed Publications

Non-refereed Publications

Opinion Pieces