Miles D. Williams


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

About Me

My name is Miles Williams and I recently received my Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Starting in the fall, I will be a Visiting Assistant Professor in Data for Political Research at Denison University. For the past two years, I have also served as an Associate Fellow specializing in statistical methods with the federal Office of Evaluation Sciences.

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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