Academic Team

Phan Tuan Ngoc



Fields of Interest: political economy, comparative politics, international economics, corruption, political decentralization

Education: Ph.D. 2022, Duke University, USA


Tuan-Ngoc Phan (Phan or Tuan Ngoc) is a political economist who studies corruption in developing countries. He explores questions that lie at the crossroads of economics and political science, by applying quantitative research methods such as natural experiments, randomized controlled trials (RCT), regression discontinuity, and difference-in-differences.

While his childhood dream was to become a diplomat, Phan started to get interested in political science and economics upon reading the academic literature on political institutions in Vietnam. He was intrigued by how scholars attempt to make sense of various phenomena in the Vietnamese political economy. Sometimes, the fascination comes from how well the case of Vietnam maps onto existing academic theories. At other times, what is more interesting is scholars’ effort to explain why it does not.

Since 2016, Phan has been a co-author and a collaborator at the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) — the largest enterprise survey on firms’ experiences with the provincial business environment in Vietnam. He combined this dataset with additional data that he collected on provincial leaders to study how the interaction of political and economic factors influences business-government relationships at Vietnamese provinces. His other research interests concern the industrial organization of corruption, the role of audit and transparency in encouraging honest behaviors from bureaucrats, and authoritarian politics.

Tuan-Ngoc Phan received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and International Relations from Colgate University. He spent the next few years in Washington, DC, acquiring his Master’s degree in International Economics at American University and working at think tanks and international development organizations. Phan then pursued a Ph.D. in Political Science in the subfield of Political Economy at Duke University in North Carolina, USA.


  • Econometrics
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • International Economics

Select Publications:

  • “Do Subnational Performance Assessments (SPAs) Lead to Improved Governance? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Vietnam”, with Edmund Malesky, in Fulbright Review of Economics and Policy, Forthcoming, 2022
  • “Explaining the Resilience of Single-Party Regimes: Centralized Politics, Promotability, and Corruption”, Program on Governance and Local Development Working Paper, Vol. 50, 2021
  • “Rust Removal: Why Vietnam’s Anti-Corruption Efforts Have Failed to Deliver Results and What That Implies for Future Campaigns”, with Edmund Malesky, in The Political Logics of Anticorruption Efforts in Asia, edited by Meredith Weiss and Cheng Chen, SUNY Press, 2019
  • “Social Norms, Organizational Learning and Bribes in Emerging Economies: A Study of Foreign Invested Firms in Vietnam”, with Binh Vuong and Thang Nguyen, in Multinational Business Review, 29, No. 2, 2020
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