Jim's research focuses on institutional determinants of economic development. In this vein, he has published and forthcoming articles on the role of institutions in determining migration, remittances, and gender norms. He has also investigated the determinants of civil war, the impact of civil war on economic growth, and the impact of civil war on cultural attitudes towards women.
Some of Jim's more recent work has focused more on predictive modeling using machine learning. Machine learning is widely and increasingly relevant for business data analytics for things like targeted advertising (Google, for example) and suggesting content or products to consumers (Netflix, Amazon, for example). In Jim's research, he applies this technique for prediction to civil war, economic growth, and health care outcomes.