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.”    


Meet the Fellows!


Catlan Reardon is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at UC Berkeley and a Research Associate at the Center on the Politics of Development. Her research interests include ethnic and political violence, leader political behavior, climate politics, and local development and governance in the developing world. In this piece, Catlan tells us where her interesed in political science comes from, about her current work from Nigeria, and what she learned from working with Innovations for Poverty Action

Read the full interview here!

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



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 [...] 

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Leadership, Community Ties, and Participation of the Poor: Evidence from Kenya, Malawi, and Zambia. 

Research on public goods provision in Africa suggests that local leaders’ ability to mobilize the poor varies with the nature of the community. Yet there remains uncertainty about why local leaders are better in mobilizing the poor in [...] 

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Politics and Community Narratives of Participation in Local Governance of Rural India

Public engagement is vital to achieving good local governance. For the last three decades, donor agencies such as World Bank (WB) have emphasized community participation and local government. Thus, understanding [...]

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Changing Repertoires to Housing Mobilisation: Struggles to Stay at Home During the Covid-19 Pandemic

In this study, Valesca examine how social movements focused on the right to housing have responded to the challenges of the Covid-19 Pandemic. It particularly sheds light on new modes of contestation generated and expanded by [...]

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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