Who Gets Radicalized? What I Learned from my Interviews with Extremist Disciples

In my capacity as a Senior Research Scientist at Columbia, I constructed a scientific study to collect data from radicalized individuals themselves – on how, why, and who gets radicalized. I gained exclusive access to a community that rarely opens its doors to outsiders. Here is a peek into what I learned:

Who Gets Radicalized? What I Learned from my Interviews with Extremist Disciples

More to come in my forthcoming book.

Favor reciprocation theory in education: New corruption typology


Embedded in a systemic and chronic process, corruption in education is a pervasive element that exacerbates developing countries’ efforts to educate their citizens. Understanding the cumulative impact rests upon exposing key features of educational corruption and bringing to light the varied forms in which corruption emerges within institutions of higher education. Classifying educational corruption may be elusive in the developing settings due to the acceptability and prevalence of the phenomenon; yet, it is imperative that more attention is focused on this area. Based on the empirical research conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s higher education, this paper broadens current understanding of typologies of educational corruption by incorporating the novel forms emerging in the post-war and developing environment of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In particular, the study surprisingly finds that elites gravitate towards and benefit from non-pecuniary corruption while the poor tend to bribe. The study places the onus on the lack of accountability of elite power maneuvers and aims to aid in creating further awareness to combat corruption.


Development; Corruption; Non-pecuniary; Favor reciprocation; Higher education; Corruption typology


Merit Matters: Student Perceptions of Faculty Quality and Reward (2016)

International Journal of Educational Development

Lead Article, 2016

Abstract: This empirical research explores a role that the quality of teaching and students’ competence play in shaping students’ views about the upward mobility opportunities in their higher education institutions. In the absence of meritocracy, this study finds, students are likely to label the educational system as corrupt. When the merit-based competition does not determine who moves up within higher education, one’s belonging to the political, social, and economic elites tends to become the alternative basis for the upward mobility. Moving away from the merit-based mobility can have broad social consequences particularly in developing countries that are poorly equipped to react to such digressions, underlining the relevance of this work cross-nationally.

Download full article here

Acting and Reacting: Youth’s Behavior in Corrupt Educational Settings (2014)

Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations 
Lead Article, 2014

Abstract: With its broader employability to the issues of underperformance that may emerge in educational system internationally, this empirical study redefines and expands Albert Hirschman’s theory of voice, exit, and loyalty within higher education. The article formulates a new education-embedded theoretical framework that explains reactionary behaviors of students in corrupt educational systems.

Download full article here

When Corruption Gets in the Way (2013)

European Education Journal
Lead Article, 2013

Abstract: This article investigates the encounter of EU-unionization with a domesticated practice of corruption in Bosnian higher education. Relying on primary data collected in Bosnia’s public higher education system, the study surprisingly finds that the Bologna process—despite its partly failed adaptation in Bosnia—is still perceived as potentially transformative for the country’s corruption-prone higher education system.

Download full article here

William Russell on Schools in Bulgaria (2013)

Bulgarian Comparative Education Society

This is an article that looks at the role of William Russell on educational system in Bulgaria. At the time of his first visit to Bulgaria, an American scholar, William Fletcher Russell (1890–1956), was a Professor of Education and the Associate Director of the International Institute of Teachers College, Columbia University. His book on Schools in Bulgaria was completed in the autumn of 1923 as the first in a series published by the International Institute of Teachers College.

Download full article here

School Uniform Cost Reduction in Mongolia: Standardization, Simplification and Supply Policy (2013)

Asian Development Bank and Mongolian Ministry
of Education Culture and Sports, 2013

The paper provides insights into the school uniform related issues and informs the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (“MECS”) in Mongolia on the ways to lower the school uniform cost in the Mongolian market. This study drew on the data collected via 20 interviews and focus groups with students, teachers, parents, manufacturers, and educational officials, as well as data gathered by surveying 462 teachers, students, and parents in Ulanbaataar, Dornod, and Bayan Ulgh provinces. The data analysis provides 28 cost simulation scenarios and recommendations aimed at improving the school uniform quality, supply, and pricing throughout the country.

Download full article here