Robert Bates is the Eaton Professor of the Science of Government at Harvard University. His research focuses on the political economy of development, particularly in Africa, and on violence and state failure. He serves as a researcher with the African Economic Research Consortium and as a member of the US government’s Political Instability Task Force. He has conducted field work in Zambia, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Colombia, Brazil, and Ghana. 
Bates previously held faculty appointments at the California Institute of Technology and Duke University, and has been a researcher at the Institute of Development Studies of the University of Nairobi, the Institute for Social Research of the University of Zambia, and Fedesarrollo in Colombia. He also served as a professeur associe at the School of Economics at the University of Toulouse. His many publications include the 2007 book When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa (Cambridge University Press).
In addition to having been a Carnegie Fellow, Bates has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and National Science Foundation, and has been inducted into both the American Academy and the National Academy of Sciences. He earned a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.