Ali Cheema serves as the Director of the Mahbub Ul Haq Research centre, and is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences, LUMS. Cheema is also a Senior Research Fellow at IDEAS Pakistan, co-founder of the centre for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP), and a co-lead academic of the International Growth centre’s Pakistan programme. He is 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, comparative politics, economic history, and the economics of crime. His research combines extensive mixed-methods fieldwork, historical archival research, rigorous empirical analysis, and theory to offer insights into how political economy and historical foundations shape economic and political development. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Cambridge, an MPhil in Economics and Politics from Cambridge, a BA (Hons.) in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) from Oxford where he 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 from 2010-11.