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.”

New Publication: Authority and Covid-19 Regulations in Malawi 


Which authorities can most effectively gain public compliance with COVID-19 regulations in Malawi? GLD and IPOR Malawi asked Malawians which authorities they trust regarding COVID-19 restrictions and information.

Read our new publication, The ABCs of Covid-19 prevention in Malawi: Authority, benefits, and costs of compliance, in World Development.


Latest Podcasts




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

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June 2020: GLD-IPOR Webinar, New Project, Podcast Special, New Working Paper and More

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May 2020: New Working Paper Compendium, Annual Report 2020, Short Term Grants and More

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April 2020: John-Paul Adjadeh Podcast, New Working Paper, Hiring & Internships and More  

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March 2020: GLD Annual Conference, Peter Esaiasson Podcast & Working Paper and More

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Latest Working Papers




Mixed Records, Cognitive Complexity, and Ethnic Voting in African Elections

The preference of African voters for co-ethnic candidates is well documented in studies of African political behavior. However, African voters also seem to value good government performance. When does ethnicity trump performance? We theorize that a citizen’s vote choice depends in part on the cognitive complexity she faces [...]


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Power and Process: Decentralisation in Oman

Decentralisation has been a feature of Omani life since the early 1990s, yet while the Sultanate has been influenced by orthodox thinking around these processes its particular history, culture, circumstances, as well as its strongly centralised state have all meant that it has not simply followed this orthodox thinking. Instead, it has created a system of what this [...]


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The Dynamics of Decentralization in the MENA: Processes, Dynamics, and Obstacles 

This working paper is part of a two-year project on decentralization in the MENA, focusing on Oman. The broader project aims to make three main contributions. First, it seeks to promote policy-relevant, scholarly research on decentralization, and pave the way for further cross-national studies and analyses [...]


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Bureaucrat-Local Politician Linkages and Hierarchical Local Governance in Emerging Democracies: A Case Study of Tunisia 

Despite implementing comprehensive decentralization laws, emerging democracies often achieve limited success in improving the inclusiveness of local governance. A potential factor limiting the inclusiveness is the lack of cooperation. What factors determine the inclination of mayors to cooperate [...]


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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