About Us

The Program on Governance and Local Development (GLD) is a research program based at the University of Gothenburg, originally founded in 2013 at Yale University by Program Director, Professor Ellen Lust. GLD focuses on the local factors driving governance and development. The program is dedicated to international collaboration and scientifically rigorous, policy-relevant research in an effort to promote human welfare globally. Program findings are made available to the international and domestic communities through academic publications, policy briefs, public presentations, and social media, as well as on-the-ground workshops in cooperation with local partners.





Our Mission

“We aim to promote human welfare by conducting scientifically rigorous research across the globe. Our research focuses on answering a fundamental question: why are some communities able to provide secure environments, good education, adequate healthcare, and other factors that encourage human development, while others fail to do so? We engage with communities across the world, develop methodological tools, gather data, undertake analyses on major issues affecting societies today, and disseminate findings to academics, relevant policy-makers, and  the communities in which we work.”

Stigma, Trust, and Procedural Integrity: Covid–19 Testing in Malawi

It is often assumed that citizens have a strong desire to know their Covid–19 status, and will therefore take advantage of testing opportunities. This may not be the case in all contexts, however, especially those where citizens perceive stigma associated with the Covid–19, have low trust in health institutions, and doubt the procedural integrity of the testing process.

Our latest study explores willingness to receive a free Covid–19. We find that Malawians expect higher uptake of testing in their community when the international health organization offered the test rather than a public clinic, an effect we attribute to higher trust in the organization and/or perceptions of greater capacity to ensure procedural integrity.

Find the full article in World Development.

Latest Podcasts




January 2021: Call for STG Proposals, Covid-19 Testing in Malawi, GLD Workshop Series, and more

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November 2020: Rapid Urbanization in Ghana, Stereotypes and Covid-19, Call for Working Papers, and more

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October 2020: New Funding, Covid-19 Impact on Kenya's Urban Poor, Bureaucracy in Turkey, and more

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September 2020: Webinar Invitation, Research Findings, Staff Updates, Grants & Internships, and more

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August 2020: Covid-19 Project Update, Karen Ferree on African Elections, New Funding, and more

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Latest Working Papers




How Gender and Local State Capacity Shape Citizens’ Use of the Mosque

There is a well-documented gender gap in mosque use in the Islamic World, with men attending Friday prayer more frequently than women. However, we know little about whether a gender gap exists among those that use the mosque for non-religious purposes. Using original survey data from Tunisia, we find that men are generally more likely than women to use [...]


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Disease Threat, Stereotypes, and Covid-19: An Early View from Malawi and Zambia 

A growing literature documents Covid–19’s health and economic effects. Can Covid–19 also exacerbate identity divisions? Psychologists argue that contagious disease increases threat perception, provoking policing of group boundaries and discrimination against perceived outsiders. We focus here on a mechanism underlying this work, the emergence [...]


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The Social Bureaucrat: How Social Proximity among Bureaucrats Affects Local Governance

Most studies that examine subnational variations in public services associate low government performance with a lack of accountability. I instead offer a capacity-based explanation. Specifically, I develop a theory based on bureaucratic efficiency and argue that bureaucratic efficiency increases with social proximity among [...]


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Reconceptualising Rebel Rule: The Responsiveness of Rebel Governance in Man, Côte d’Ivoire 

This study considers the concept of rebel governance responsiveness by the Forces Nouvelles (FN) in Côte d’Ivoire. Responsiveness refers to the degree to which a government’s political decisions correspond to its citizens’ desires. The concept of responsiveness is vital for assessing regime types and constitutes [...]


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Country Reports


LGPI Tunisia: Selected Findings on Health

Tunisia has a very good health-care system compared to most of the Arab world. The healthcare system includes primary-care clinics and health centers, which deal with nearly 60 percent of public-sector medical outpatients, reproductive-health visits, schools, and student-health visits [...]


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LGPI Malawi: Selected Findings on Gender

Malawi’s context raises a number of challenges that the government, traditional leaders, civil society, and the development community are working to address. One area of particular focus is gender equality and women’s empowerment. The LGPI supports this effort by providing [...]


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Annual Report