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Topher  L. McDougal

Topher L. McDougal

I am a development economist and professor at the Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, California, where I direct graduate programs in Humanitarian Action and Peace & Justice. My research interests include the economics of peace and conflict, illicit markets (especially for firearms), and human predation of environmental systems. In addition to consulting for various organizations including the World Bank, Mercy Corps, and the International Rescue Committee, I have been a research affiliate at the Centre on Conflict, Development & Peacebuilding (CCDP) at the Graduate Institute for International & Development Studies (Geneva, Switzerland), a principal of the Small Arms Data Observatory (SADO), and an invited scholar-in-residence at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and Tecnológico de Monterrey. My first book, The Political Economy of Rural-Urban Conflict: Predation, Production, and Peripheries (Oxford, 2017), explained how trade networks shape the nature and extent of civil war violence. I received a PhD and MCP from MIT, and a BA from Swarthmore College.

California is about to tax guns more like alcohol and tobacco

May 22, 2024 06:21 am UTC| Insights & Views Politics Law

Starting in July 2024, California will be the first state to charge an excise tax on guns and ammunition. The new tax an 11% levy on each sale will come on top of federal excise taxes of 10% or 11% for firearms and...

Delivering aid during war is tricky − here’s what to know about what Gaza relief operations may face

Oct 23, 2023 08:18 am UTC| Insights & Views

The 2.2 million people who live in Gaza are facing economic isolation and experiencing incessant bombardment. Their supplies of essential resources, including food and water, are quickly dwindling. In response, U.S....

Gaza depends on UN and other global aid groups for food, medicine and basic services – Israel's war means nothing is getting in

Oct 15, 2023 04:03 am UTC| Insights & Views

International aid groups are warning that they cannot deliver food and other basic services to people in the Gaza Strip and that a dire humanitarian crisis is set to worsen. International aid groups provide food and...

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Economy

Rotting sargassum is choking the Caribbean’s white sand beaches, fueling an economic and public health crisis

The Caribbeans sandy beaches, clear turquoise water and vibrant coral reefs filled with an amazing variety of sea creatures have long been the pride of the islands. The big three sun, sea and sand have made this...

Sierra Leone’s bushmeat markets pose serious health hazards – we studied two for six months to find solutions

You are walking through the bustling centre of Bo, Sierra Leones third largest city. Following the crowd, you turn off the main road onto a narrower thoroughfare and find yourself in an open-air market. Shelters...

Africa doesn’t have a choice between economic growth and protecting the environment: how they can go hand in hand

Heathrow Airport in the UK currently uses more energy than the entire west African country of Sierra Leone. Despite Africa accounting for less than 4% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, many of its countries face...

Spare us the talk about a wages explosion. There’s nothing wrong with lifting Australia’s lowest wages in line with inflation

What is it with the Coalition and wages? When, in the final days of the 2022 election campaign, the then opposition leader Anthony Albanese backed an increase in award wages to keep pace with inflation, his opposite...

Net zero is not just good science – it’s also a good deal for ordinary people

As the UK moves into a general election, a misinformed debate over the countrys climate transition and legally binding net zero targets risks further dividing people. Much of this debate in the UK focuses on the cost of...

Politics

Unmarred by Russian spying scandal, Austria’s far-right expected to cruise to victory in European elections

For the Freedom Party of Austria (FP), the weeks are going by like clockwork. The far-right party continues to top the polls. It is expected to clinch a comfortable victory in the European elections on 9 June with almost...

Indian election: Narendra Modi hasn’t delivered the expected landslide – where the BJP may have gone wrong

Narendra Modi may have led his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to a historic third term, but the landslide victory that many had expected failed to materialise. With half of the 640...

Iran: president’s death has set hardliners jostling for position to replace ageing supreme leader

The death of Irans president, Ebrahim Raisi, in a helicopter crash in May plunged Iran into political uncertainly. Raisis death has set off an intense power struggle within the Islamic Republic. Irans consitution...

Modi’s narrow win suggests Indian voters saw through religious rhetoric, opting instead to curtail his political power

Indias ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, had hoped for a landslide victory in the countrys six-week general election the largest display of democracy, by far, in a year of voting around the world. But with results...

Science

Eye exercises to improve sight – is there any science behind them? An ophthalmologist explains why you shouldn’t buy the hype

You may have seen advertisements claiming to eliminate the need for eyeglasses through vision therapy or vision training basically, eye exercises. These exercises include putting pressure on or palming the eye; eye...

The universe’s biggest explosions made some of the elements we are composed of. But there’s another mystery source out there

After its birth in the Big Bang, the universe consisted mainly of hydrogen and a few helium atoms. These are the lightest elements in the periodic table. More-or-less all elements heavier than helium were produced in the...

Engineering cells to broadcast their behavior can help scientists study their inner workings

Waves are ubiquitous in nature and technology. Whether its the rise and fall of ocean tides or the swinging of a clocks pendulum, the predictable rhythms of waves create a signal that is easy to track and distinguish from...

If an asteroid hit Earth and all the humans died, would the dinosaurs come back?

Many, many years ago dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Six-year-old Aga knows that a meteorite wiped them out… but could another meteorite bring them back? You can read a print version of this story...

Ancient DNA from an extinct native duck reveals how far birds flew to make New Zealand home

Ask a bird lover if they have heard of the extinct giant moa or its ancient predator, Haasts eagle, and the answer will likely be yes. The same cant be said of New Zealands extinct, but equally unique, mergansers a group...

Technology

Ethereum (ETH) to Hit $5,000 After Major Move, Says Top Analyst

In a daring prediction that has captivated the attention of the cryptocurrency world, noted analyst Jelle has predicted that Ethereum (ETH) will achieve an all-time high of $5,000 by the end of the year. This prediction...

SHIB Sees Major Metric Drop as Price Dips Below Crucial $0.00002 Threshold

Shiba Inus burn rate has plummeted by over 62% as the SHIB price falls below the critical $0.00002 level, raising concerns among investors. Shiba Inu Burn Rate Plummets Amid Price Decline Below $0.00002 A significant...

Nintendo Switch 2 Could Get Final Fantasy XIV; Xenogears HD-2D Fan Remake Impresses in New Video

Final Fantasy XIV may eventually arrive on the Nintendo Switch 2, but the release could take years. Meanwhile, a stunning Xenogears HD-2D fan remake in Unreal Engine 5 has captivated fans. Final Fantasy XIV Producer...

SpaceX Announces Starlink Mini Dish Rollout, Offers 50% Discount on US Starlink Dish

SpaceX plans to roll out the Starlink mini dish in the coming months, providing a more affordable option for users. Additionally, the company is offering a 50% discount on its Starlink dishes in the US. Elon Musk...
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