About Us

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


Meet the Fellows!


Marie Gagné is enrolled in a Postdoctoral Fellowship funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Société et culture (FRQSC) in the Department of Political Science at Concordia  University. Marie’s broad research interests include questions of land access, agricultural development, natural resource management, and food security. We talked about her GLD grant-awarded project, her current forest and biodiversity conservation consultancy mission, and her dream of a carbon-neural house.  

Read the full interview here!

New Book by Ellen Lust

Everyday Choices: The Role of Competing Authorities and Social Institutions in Politics and Development is the title of GLD Director Ellen Lust's new book. It is a Cambridge Element that looks at how citizens, service providers, and state officials engage in actions that constitute politics and development. Taking an institutional approach, it explains how the salience of arenas of authority associated with various communities and the nature of social institutions within them affect politics and development. Full abstract.

This title is also available as OpenAccess on Cambridge Core.


Governance Uncovered 

Our monthly podcast invites scholars and professionals worldwide to discuss issues related to governance and local development with host Ellen Lust.

Governance Uncovered is supported by the Swedish Research Council.


Listen via Soundcloud or Spotify


Latest Working Papers


The Social Embeddedness of Elections: Ghana's 2016 and 2020 Campaigns 

Research on electoral mobilization in Africa focuses on core versus swing voters, clientelistic linkages, and ethnic voting. This paper adds an important yet understudied addition to this scholarship: the social and institutional [...]

Full Working Paper

Local Control: How Opposition Support Constrains Electoral Autocrats

Scholars conceptualize autocrats as central planners, constrained in how much they can distribute but not where. Autocrats use punishment regimes to sanction disloyalty. In many electoral autocracies, local institutions are the infrastructure of reward and sanction [...] 

Full Working Paper

The (Spatial) Ties that Bind: Frequent Casual Contact, the Shadow of the Future, and Pro- sociality Across Ethnic Divisions

What can spur prosocial behavior across ethnic divisions? A host of studies focus on the potential power of deep contact between group members. Bollen instead focuses on the capacity of casual contact. While most research [...]

Full Working Paper

Roadblocks Remain: Constraints to Women's Political Participation in Pakistan

How can governments encourage political participation by all? In this study, the authors ask why certain groups are less likely to vote solely based on where they are assigned to vote and argue that mobility plays an important role [...] 

Full Working Paper

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



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