Allison Hartnett

Ms Allison Hartnett

Research topic:
Redistribution Under Autocracy: Land Reform and Regime Durability in MENA

Research Themes:
Democracy and Democratisation Statebuilding Political Economy Comparative Politics and Government  Political economy and international political economy 

Academic Profile

I'm a doctoral candidate at Corpus Christi College working under the supervision of Prof. David Rueda and Dr. Adeel Malik.

My research interests include inequality and redistribution, institutional change, the political economy of development, authoritarian politics, and the Middle East and North Africa. I am particularly interested in Jordan and Iraq have conducted fieldwork in Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco.

My thesis challenges prevailing assumptions about the relationship between redistribution and non-democratic regime durability. Focusing on asset redistribution, I show that redistributive land reform reduces regime tenure. The central puzzle motivating my research is then: "why does land redistribution - a measure intended to enhance regimes' political survival - jeopardize regime durability in MENA?"

My dissertation project examines the impact of land redistribution on regime stability in MENA during the critical period of state formation (1945-1970).  My dissertation argues that unstable MENA regimes consistently follow different strategies over land redistribution than similarly situated stable regimes. My research makes an empirical contribution through a new dataset of MENA land reform. 

I hold an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies (2013) from St. Antony's College, University of Oxford and a BA from Boston University (2009). Both my MPhil and BA dissertations were awarded distinction by their respective departments. My professional experience includes consultancy work on fragile states and rural economies for organizations such as the UK Department for International Development and the Islamic Development Bank.

Teaching specialism, interests and experience

All courses were taught at the University of Oxford unless otherwise noted. My teaching was awarded the "Best Postgraduate Teacher" award by the Oxford University Student Union in 2017. This distinction was awarded on the basis of student nominations and decided by a committee of university students and staff.


206 Politics in Europe - tutorials (2017)

211 Politics in the Middle East - tutorials, revision classes, Final Honour School exam marking (2013-present)

226 Quantitative Methods in Politics and Sociology - tutorials, revision classes (2014 - 2015)



Political Economy of Rural Spaces in MENA - seminar co-organized with Dr. Carol Palmer at the Centre for British Research in the Levant, Amman, Jordan (Autumn 2016)


Teaching Interests

Democratization, Political Economy of Inequality and Redistribution, Middle Eastern Politics, Quantitative Methods


2017-2018 Belfer Center Middle East Initiative Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

2017-2018 ACOR-CAORC Fellowship, Amman, Jordan (13,900 USD)

2017 Best Postgraduate Teacher, Oxford University Student Union

2016 Centre for British Research in the Levant Fellowship, Amman, Jordan (7000 GBP)

2015 Writing-Up Grant for Dissertation Development, Department of Politics, Oxford (1500 GBP)

2014 Mellon-Chester Scholarship for Field Research, Department of Politics, Oxford (800 GBP)

2013-2015 Junior Deanship, Keble College, Oxford

2013-2015 A.E. Haigh Merit Studentship, Corpus Christi College and Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford (24,000 GBP)

2013 Stone Family Foundation Professional Development Grant (2,500 GBP)

2012 Carr-Stahl Fieldwork Grant, St. Antony’s College, Oxford (500 GBP)

2011 Jordan Fulbright ETA Fellowship, Jordan (declined to attend University of Oxford)

2009 US Department of State Critical Language Scholarship Advanced Arabic, Jordan (8,000 USD)

2009 Richard E. Katz Prize in Religion, Boston University (1000 USD)

2005-2009 University Merit Scholarship, Boston University (half-tuition scholarship)


Working Papers

Land reform and autocratic regime durability in the Middle East and North Africa

Pre-state institutions, sub-state identity and local-national clientelism in Jordan

Colonial institutions and state capacity in MENA

Beyond rejectionism: propaganda and authoritarian legitimation in Nasser's Egypt, with Prof. Noa Schonmann

The rural Right and Eurosceptic economic voting in Poland, with Alexander Gard-Murray


Policy Papers

Wilson, G and Hartnett, A. 2016. UK Stabilisation Guidance for the Stabilisation Unit. United Kingdom Department for International Development.

Hartnett, A. 2014. Protest, Unrest and State-Society Relations. International Peace Institute.


Encyclopedia Entries

Hartnett, A. 2011. Entries for Energy Policy in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, and Qatar. Encyclopedia of Energy. Golson Media: Croton-on-Hudson, New York.


Book Reviews

Hartnett, A. Review of Globalization & Social Movements: Islamism, Feminism and Social Justice, 2nd ed. by Valentine Moghadam. St. Antony's International Review 10, No. 1 (May 2014): 135-37.

Conference Papers and Presentations

Invited Talks


The Future of Politics, Corpus Christi College, Oxford Quincentenary Series, Oxford, UK. 5 May.

Infrastructural Power and Domestic Resource Conflict in the Levant, Columbia University Middle East Research Center, Amman, Jordan. 7 January.


The Political Economy of Border Lands: Jordan, Syria, Palestine and Israel's Resource CurseColumbia University Middle East Research Center, Amman, Jordan. 7 November.

Land Redistribution and Political Stability in the Middle East, Nottingham Trent University. 8 April.


Conference Presentations


The rural Right and Eurosceptic economic voting in Poland (with Alexander Gard-Murray), Midwest Political Science Association Meeting, Chicago, IL. 6-9 April.

Pre-state institutions, sub-state identity and local-national clientelism in Jordan, Midwest Political Science Association Meeting, Chicago, IL. 6-9 April.

Colonial Legacies, Landed Elites and Regime Survival in MENA, New Politics of Authoritarianism Conference, University of Oxford, 15 March.



Legitimate but not lasting: ruling coalitions and redistribution in Jordan and Iraq, Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting, Boston, MA. November.

Land redistribution and autocratic regime durability in MENA, American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA. 1-4 September.

Growing power: agricultural endowments and the roots of authoritarian persistence in MENA, Midwest Political Science Association Meeting, Chicago, IL. 7-10 April.



Elite balancing and stakeholder dynamics in Jordanian agrarian reform, Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC. 22-25 November.

Informality and Jordanian hydropolitics under King Abdullah II, International Society for New Institutional Economics Annual Meeting, Duke University, Durham, NC. 19 June.