Mwangi is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director of Economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Co-Director of the World Studies Interdisciplinary Project. He was Chairperson of the Five Colleges African Studies Council from 2014 to 2016. Previously he was Associate Professor of Economics and Chair of Africana Studies at Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania.
He is the author of Ten Millionaires and Ten Million Beggars: a study of inequality and development in Kenya and co-author of An Employment Targeted Plan for Kenya plus numerous articles and chapters. His research interests are in the Political Economy of Development with particular attention to issues of class, gender and income distribution in relation to agrarian transition and nationhood in Africa, as well as the process of structural transformation in Africa and the challenges faced from both within the continent and outside.
In addition to his research Mwangi has been active in policy circles consulting with multi-lateral and national agencies and NGOs such as the UNDP, Economic Commission for Africa, Africa Center for Economic Transformation, and the Society for International development among others, on issues of development particularly with respect to Africa.
He is an Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Development Studies and on the Editorial Board of the African Studies Review.