Post-Doctoral and Research Fellows


Kristen Kao

Kristen Kao received her PhD in 2015 from the University of Calfornia, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Program on Governance and Local Development (GLD) at the University of Gothenburg. Kristen’s dissertation investigates the effects of electoral institutions on tribal voting behavior, ethnic clientelism, and authoritarian rule in the Middle East, where she spent over two years conducting fieldwork. Her broader research interests include the study of electoral authoritarianism, clientelism, ethnic politics, survey methodology, field experiments, politics of the MENA region, and voter behavior. Her research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the American Political Science Association, the National Security Education Program, the American Center of Oriental Research, and the Project on Middle East Political Science, among others. 

Website: http://www.kristenkao.com

Ruth Carlitz

Ruth Carlitz is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Program on Governance and Local Development (GLD) at the University of Gothenburg. She received her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles in June 2016. Her research looks at government responsiveness from the ‘top down’ (how governments distribute public goods) and the ‘bottom up’ (what citizens and non-governmental organizations can do to promote transparency and accountability). Ruth’s dissertation focuses on Tanzania, where nearly half of the population languishes without access to a clean and safe source of drinking water despite massive investments in this sector in recent years. In order to make sense of this disconnect, she analyzes finely-grained, geo-coded data on spending and infrastructure construction for water provision, contextualized by public opinion surveys, interviews and focus group discussions. She finds that Tanzania's strategy of decentralizing water provision to local governments has largely failed to improve access, due to political favoritism at the local level as well as a ‘demand-responsive approach’ that privileges wealthier communities. In addition to her academic research, Ruth has worked on evaluations commissioned by organizations including the World Bank, the International Budget Partnership, and the Institute of Development Studies. Ruth lived in Tanzania from 2006-2008, where she worked with the local NGO HakiElimu. She has also conducted fieldwork in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda. Website: www.ruthcarlitz.com