Honig's research focuses on the relationship between organizational structure, management practice, and performance in developing country governments and organizations that provide foreign aid. His current book project (under contract, Oxford University Press) focuses on the optimal level of autonomy in foreign aid intervention delivery and the role political authorizing environments and measurement regimes play in circumscribing that autonomy. Outside of the academy, Honig served as a special assistant, then advisor, to successive Ministers of Finance (Liberia); ran a local nonprofit focused on helping post-conflict youth realize the power of their own ideas to better their lives and communities through agricultural entrepreneurship (East Timor); and has worked for a number of local and international NGOs (e.g. Ashoka in Thailand; Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development in Israel).
Argues that high-quality implementation of foreign aid programs often requires contextual information that cannot be seen by those in distant headquarters. Concludes that aid agencies will often benefit from giving field agents the authority to use their own judgments to guide aid delivery.
Investigates the determinants of price discrimination in the rice market in one neighborhood of Lagos, Nigeria. Suggests that the boundaries of group identity appear to be at least partially defined by class in the informal economy.
Identifies ways in which donors can be more effective in fragile and conflict-affected states by exploiting theories and concepts drawn from public management.