Ruth Hall joined PLAAS in 2002. She holds a DPhil in Politics from the University of Oxford, where she previously obtained an MPhil in Development Studies. Her doctoral work focused on the interests, actors and discourses that influenced the development of South African land reform policy. Key research interests that have shaped her work at PLAAS are: land tenure, restitution and redistribution, gender and development policy, and broad-based agricultural development. Her work has strongly emphasised the role of rights-based policy approaches to tenure for farm workers and other poor landholders.
Her main research now is on land rights and the future of food and farming in sub-Saharan Africa. She leads a five-country study on the politics and impacts of large-scale land acquisitions, and convenes a small grants programme of twenty smaller studies covering fourteen African countries.