Ali Cheema is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). He serves as the Faculty Director of the Mahbub Ul Haq Research Centre at LUMS. He is a co-founder of the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP). In addition, he is a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS) and a co-lead academic of the International Growth Center’s Pakistan programme. He has served as  a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex and was the Chair of the Economics Department at LUMS from 2004-2010. He was also a founding member of the Stockholm Challenge Award winning portal, Relief Information System for Earthquakes, Pakistan (RISEPAK).

His areas of research include economic development with a focus on human capital, inclusion and economic mobility, gender, public economics, governance and political economy. His research uses mixed methods that combine qualitative and historical archival research with rigorous quantitative methods to offer insights into how political economy and historical foundations shape economic and political development. His recent work focuses on how political and wealth inequality shape accountability, representation and development, the role of gender norms and inequality as barriers to women’s political and civic participation and evaluating the potential of skills and human capital as instruments for inclusive development. He is particularly interested in how local governance and taxation institutions can be designed to makes states more accountable to citizens. He is also interested in understanding the role of citizen-state trust in building effective and accountable state capacities for inclusive development.

He holds a PhD in Economics from Cambridge, an MPhil in Economics and Politics from Cambridge, a BA (Hons.) in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) from Oxford where has was a Rhodes Scholar, and a BA in Mathematics and Statistics from Government College, Lahore. He was a visiting Fulbright and SAI Scholar at Harvard Kennedy School in 2010-11.