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GLD Newsletter
October 2020

In This Newsletter

  • Webinar: Covid-19 Health and Stigma in Zambia
  • New Podcast & Working Paper on Bureaucracy in Turkey 
  • Funding to Study Gender and Politics in the MENA
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Covid-19 Impact on Kenya's Urban Poor
  • and much more! 

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Webinar Invitation

From Research to Action in Zambia: Insights on Health and Stigma from the GLD-SAIPAR Covid-19 Survey

Register for the webinar here.

NB – only identifiable participants will be admitted to the webinar (please use your own name instead of an alias). The host will remove anyone displaying inappropriate behaviour.

New Governance Uncovered Podcast

Tugba Bozcaga on Social Proximity among Bureaucrats in Turkey


Episode 21: This month, we talk to Tugba Bozcaga, Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Middle East Initiative and Ph.D. student in Political Science at  MIT. In 2018, Tugba received a GLD Short TermGrant to study social proximity among bureaucrats in Turkey. Tugba's research has culminated in this month's working paper: The Social Bureaucrat: How Social Proximity among Bureaucrats Affects Local Governance.

In this episode of Governance Uncovered, we hear more about her research and her experiences from the field. Tugba also explains the policy implications of her research – namely how it offers an alternative explanation to why the quality of public services may be lower in minority or predominantly immigrant neighborhoods.


New Working Paper

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 bureaucrats, bureaucrats’ informal ties with other bureaucrats in their jurisdiction because informal ties do not only serve communication or socialization purposes but also decrease transaction costs associated with the production and allocation process of public services. Testing the observable implications of this theory, I find that social proximity, as proxied by geographic proximity, increases bureaucratic efficiency. However, in line with theoretical expectations, geographic proximity is less likely to lead to high bureaucratic efficiency in socially fragmented network structures or when there are ethnic divisions between bureaucrats. Six months of fieldwork in regions of Turkey with different political and ethnic geographies inform the descriptive inferences underlying the theory and its observable implications. I leverage a geographical regression discontinuity design to test my theory. My empirical tests employ novel administrative data from 30,000 villages and 970 districts in Turkey, geospatial indicators constructed using spatial analysis tools and satellite images, and antenna-level mobile call detail records. This study advances research on public goods provision by studying local public services outside of citizen-centered accountability explanations, instead of revealing capacity-driven sources of government performance.

Read the full working paper. 

Project Updates 

Locally Rooted Approach to Covid-19 Response


  • On October 7, GLD, SAIPAR, and ZIPAR held a webinar to present the vulnerability and economic impact results from the First GLD-SAIPAR Covid-19 Survey in Zambia. We want to thank everyone who participated in the webinar, especially our expert panelist Caesar Cheelo, for contributing to a great discussion with many interesting insights!
  • On November 4, GLD, SAIPAR, and Zambart will hold a second webinar that will focus on the health and stigma results from the First GLD-SAIPAR Covid-19 Survey in Zambia. Register here. For more results from the First GLD-SAIPAR Covid-19 Survey in Zambia, please click here.
Covid-19 Community Restrictions
in Zambia

Swedish Research Links

Locations of SRL's collaborating researchers.
On October 22, GLD’s Swedish Research Links (SRL) Project had a virtual kickoff for the collaborating researchers. The kick-off gave participants a chance to get to know each other and the data that they will work with.

The SRL project aims to forge long-term collaborations with local research institutions in Malawi, Zambia, Ghana, and Kenya. Two junior scholars from each country have been selected to work with senior scholars from Higher-Income Countries (HICs) to develop and implement research projects based on the 2019 LGPI Data. The junior and HIC scholars will engage over the course of two years through a series of online workshops, one-to-one meetings, and conferences. They will present their final projects at the 2022 GLD Annual Conference.

Updates on the SRL project will be published here.

New Funding for Collaboration on Gender Issues Between Scholars from GLD and QoG

GLD and its partners Marwa Shalaby (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Lena Wängnerud (University of Gothenburg), have been awarded 446,000 SEK (approx. 50,400 USD) by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond for their project Gender and Politics in the MENA: A Decade After the Arab Uprisings. The main applicant and PI is GLD Director Ellen Lust.

The momentous upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) since 2011 have had substantial implications for gender politics. This project will explore how the old paradigms, realities, and contexts for studying gender and politics in the region have been shaped and reshaped by unfolding political transformations since the onset of the uprisings. To do so, we will convene a workshop to examine gender and politics across regimes and cultural contexts of the MENA compared with other regions. The workshop is a collaborative effort by researchers at the Program on Governance and Local Development (GLD), the Quality of Government Institute (QoG), and the Working Group on Gender and Politics in the MENA.

Find out more.


Governance under Decentralization: Oman in the Arab Region

New Article on the Right to Information Law in Morocco by Marwa Shalaby and Sylvia Bergh

Marwa and Sylvia discuss Morocco’s recently enacted Right to Information Law in the SADA Journal, published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Shalaby and Bergh argue that the new law is a potentially powerful tool in the hands of its citizens, but the citizens’ abilities to use it are still largely dependent on the government’s commitment to transparency and political will to enforce it. Find the full article here.

This research is part of a larger project on the dynamics of decentralization in the MENA region. The project is generously funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Publications & Presentations


Dulani, B.; Harris, A.S.; Horowitz, J.; Kayuni, H.. "Electoral Preferences Among Multiethinc Voters in Africa," 2020, Comparative Political StudiesRead.

Irgil, E., Ustubici, A..and Cöbek,G. "Mekanla Pazarlık: Avrupalı Göcmenlerin Turkiye’deki Refah ve Ayrıcalık Deneyimleri." 2020, Alternatif Politika 12 (3). 


Ellen Lust. Presentation of the Safer Field Research in the Social Sciences Handbook. POMEPS Annual Conference, October 8.
Ellen Lust. ”Measuring Governance for Local Development - Experiences for Low- and Middle-Income Countries in Africa and the Middle East,” Global Sustainable Futures, Gothenburg, October 13.

Ellen Lust. ”Clientelism, Credibility, and Context, Clientelistic Politics and Development Virtual Workshop,” UNU-WIDER, 15-16 October.

Ellen Lust, ”COVID-19: Impact on Urban Poor - Social, Economic, and Public Health Impacts,” TIFA Research, 29 October. 

Ezgi Irgil.  Migration and Integration – Structures, Policies and Actors Workshop, SWEPSA, 30 September.

Erica Metheney. “Methods Meetups: Survey To Go with Erica,” Gothenburg University, October 2.

Marika Sosnowski. ”Outposts of the State: Local Governance in War and Peacetime in Syria’s South,” Fall 2020 Weekly Seminar Series for the GLD in the MENA Edited Volume, 6 October.

Intissar Kherigi, ”Territory, Identity and Local Governance in Tunisia: How Do Changes to Municipal Boundaries Shape Conflicts within and Between Municipalities?,” Fall 2020 Weekly Seminar Series for the GLD in the MENA Edited Volume, 13 October.
Marwa Shalaby. ”Decentralization and Women’s Political Inclusion in Morocco,” Fall 2020 Weekly Seminar Series for the GLD in the MENA Edited Volume, 20 October.

Jannis Grimm and Ilyas Saliba. "Safer Field Research in the Social Sciences: A Guidebook for Fieldwork Protection and Digital Security." WZB Berlin Social Science Center, 27 October 2020.

Kristen Kao and Salma Moussa. ”Building Bridges? Intergroup Contact, Power Status, and Coexistence in Jordan,” Fall 2020 Weekly Seminar Series for the GLD in the MENA Edited Volume, 27 October.

Press 2020.  "Svårt att genomföra nationella corona-restriktioner i låginkomstländer som Malawi." (artikel från GU), Sweden, 27 October. Read Article.

Göteborgs Universitet 2020. "Svårt att genomföra nationella corona-restriktioner i låginkomstländer som Malawi." University of Gothenburg, Sweden, 27 October. Read Article

The Civil Society Newsletter 2020. "Covid-19 community restrictions." The Zambian Governance Foundation, Zambia, October. 

GLD Working Paper eJournal

Don’t forget to subscribe to the GLD SSRN eJournal! This month’s edition is focused on Local Governance and Decentralisation. To see GLD’s full SSRN series, please click here

Click the button below to subscribe to GLD’s new eJournal!

Ellen Lust joined TIFA to Discuss Covid-19 Impact on Urban Poor in Kenya 

On October 29, TIFA Research invited GLD Director Ellen Lust to discuss COVID-19 and the Social, Economic, and Public Health Impacts on Kenya's Urban Poor. 

TIFA presented some  key findings from the TIFA’s Round Three survey of Nairobi’s low-income earners:
  • 41% indicate police forces have used force to enforce curfew  in their locality (a decline from 63% in June)
  • 16% reported that they had been in at least one situation since the arrival of Covid-19 in which a bribe was demanded for any restriction violation
  • For those whom police demanded bribe, it was for failure to wear a mask in public (64%) and violating the curfew (29%)
  • Average size bribe paid for not wearing a mask KShs. 630/- and for curfew violations, it was KShs. 828/-.
Click here to find out more about knowledge, testing, prevention measures,
perceived risks and expected future impact.
Click here to find out more about perspectives on Covid-19 prevention measures, mask-wearing, and curfew enforcement.

We would like to thank TIFA for an interesting discussion with many important insights on the Covid-19's impact on Kenya's urban poor. 

Staff Announcements 

Welcome back, Dalila! 

We are happy to announce that Dalila Sabanic is back as GLD's Program and Financial manager. Dalila has twelve years of experience working with various projects, both within NGOs and the academic sphere. Before GLD, Dalila was active in a large-scale interdisciplinary EU project; Anticorrp, covering 20 research groups in 15 EU countries, funded by the European Commission. Her academic background is in psychology and pedagogy, where she has a Master's degree in Educational Science and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology.



Mina Ghassaban Kjellén is GLD's New Associate Researcher 

We are happy to announce that Mina Ghassaban Kjellén is GLD's new Associate Researcher. She graduated from the Master’s Programme in Political Science at the University of Gothenburg in January 2020. Her MA thesis, supervised by Kristen Kao, explored perceptions of democracy among supporters of AKP and CHP, the two largest political parties in Turkey. During her studies, Mina did an internship at GLD in 2017. Before joining GLD again in November 2020, Mina worked as an asylum case officer at the Swedish Migration Agency.


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