Miles D. Williams


PhD Candidate in Political Science at UIUC | Associate Fellow with OES

About Me

My name is Miles Williams and I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I also serve as an Associate Fellow specializing in methods with the federal Office of Evaluation Sciences. My research has appeared in a range of outlets, including peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and online articles.

My primary research agenda centers on identifying the foreign policy goals that motivate countries to give foreign aid. In my dissertation, I use game theory, classic econometrics, and machine learning to shed light on how foreign aid allocation serves as an arena of both strategic competition and buck-passing among donor governments.

In addition to studying foreign aid, I have supported numerous experimental, quasi-experimental, and descriptive evaluations for the federal government; collaborated on projects that apply text-as-data methods to religious political communication; and actively maintain projects centered on innovative applications of machine learning for causal inference and statistical approaches for testing theoretical models.


  • International Relations
  • Political Economy
  • Game Theory
  • Statistical Methods
  • Machine Learning
  • Causal Inference


  • PhD in Political Science, 2022 (expected)

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • MA in Political Science, 2016

    Eastern Illinois University

  • BA in History and Political Science; Philosophy, 2015

    Greenville University

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