- Discipline: Director of the Democracy, Governance and Regulation Team
- Organization: University of Maryland
Melissa Thomas is Associate Director of the Democracy, Governance and Regulation Team at the Center for Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector at the University of Maryland. She has a J.D., from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government, from Harvard University.
A political economist and lawyer, Dr. Thomas specializes in governance, corruption, legal/judicial reform and Rule of Law issues. In addition to working on related policy issues, Dr. Thomas has worked on the ground on governance issues in Mali, Benin, Chad, Cameroon, Uganda, Madagascar and Senegal. In FY2002, Dr. Thomas supported the World Bank’s governance dialogue in Cameroon and Chad, co-taught a course for African journalists on reporting on public expenditures, participated in a World Bank comparative study on African legislatures, and developed and sought financing for an initiative to track debt relief expenditures. Her article, "Getting Debt Relief Right" (Foreign Affairs September/October 2001) explains why accelerating debt relief to governments with weak institutions may undermine the goal of poverty reduction. It calls on advocates of debt relief to focus equally on ensuring that the money received is used for poverty reduction.