James Allen is a PhD student in Public Policy & Economics at the University of Michigan with interests in development economics and political economy. He served in the Peace Corps in Mali, West Africa, while earning an MS degree in Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics from Michigan State University (2012). He also holds a BA degree in Political Science and Foreign Affairs from Alma College (2009). Prior to starting his PhD, James worked at the University of Kentucky as Research Director for the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK) and an instructor in the Department of Agricultural Economics. As Research Director, he was responsible for coordinating several economic development research activities with faculty and graduate students, including publishing research on a voucher program for community-support agriculture participation, rural entrepreneurship, and the value of rural healthcare facilities.