Harris researches development, social policy, and political economy of the global South. His research focuses on welfare projects in middle and low-income countries, business-state relations in Iran, the history of social policy in West Asia and North Africa, and occupational and class mobility in Iran before and after 1979. In addition to his research, Harris is on the Editorial Committee of the Middle East Research and Information Project, and is a UCLA faculty advisor to the Center for Near Eastern Studies, the Program on Central Asia, the Asia Pacific Center, and the Center for Social Theory and Comparative History. He is an advisor to the Princeton University Iranian Periodicals Digitization Project, under the sponsorship of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies.
Utilizes a database of 183 active flagship social assistance programs in 84 developing countries, to present macro-level quantitative evidence of the rise and spread of social protection policies over the past two decades in the global South.
Discusses two prevailling theories of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran's postrevolutionary political economy, and what a more useful political sociology of the IRGC reveals about Iran's postrevolutionary era.
Discusses the making and unmaking of social compacts and state formations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), amid changing political-economic conditions, across five broad chronological periods: the tail end of the Ottoman and Persian empires, the colonial interlude, the era of political independence, the infitah years of economic opening, and the current upheaval of unrest and militarization.
Demonstrates how Iran's revolutionary regime endured through the expansion of health, education, and aid programs that have both embedded the state in everyday life and empowered its challengers.