View this email in your browser

GLD Newsletter
April 2021

In This Newsletter

  • Interview with Boniface Dulani
  • Governance Uncovered: Ahmed al-Mukhaini on Oman's Politics and Isabell Schierenbeck and Jannis Grimm on Safer Field Research in the Social Sciences
  • Two New Working Papers: One on presidential judicial appointment in Pakistan and the second on attitudes toward ISIS "collaborators" in Iraq
  • GLD Events
  • Open Positions at GLD 
  • Call for Working Papers
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Short-Term Grant Awardees
  • Staff Announcements
  • ... and much more! 

Keep Up With Us

Facebook Facebook
Twitter Twitter
LinkedIn LinkedIn
Spotify Spotify
Website Website

In the Spotlight:

Interview with Boniface Dulani about the Collaboration between GLD and IPOR

This month, our long-term collaborator, Boniface Dulani, gave an interview about GLD's and IPOR's joint research and its impact on Malawi's policy space. Among other projects, Boni talks about the 2016 Malawi LGPI:

“Apart from generating the data, there was also a component of dissemination where we went around the country sharing the research results with the survey respondents themselves, as well as with the public officials in selected districts in Malawi.”

"The survey respondents were able to challenge the public officials, insisting that the study was a true portrayal of the reality on the ground."

“In one case, we gave a presentation to public officials in the Dedza district in central Malawi. This event brought together public officials and a select number of study respondents. In the course of discussing the study findings about government services at the local level, the government officials became very defensive, disputing some of the findings on service availability.' But the survey respondents were able to challenge the public officials, insisting that the study was a true portrayal of the reality on the ground, 'No, these services might be available on paper, in your office, but on the ground, that is not the case.'”

“This, in my view, highlights the disconnect that sometimes exists between policymakers and ordinary citizens. And that's why this research, in my view, was very rich in, among many things, establishing what is available on the ground and what challenges people are facing in accessing these services.”

Find the full interview here.

Governance Uncovered

Ahmed al-Mukhaini on Governance and Politics of Oman


Episode 25: This month, we talk to Ahmed al-Mukhaini, an Independent Scholar and GLD Collaborating Researcher, about the recent political changes in Oman. In January 2021, Oman’s Sultan Haitham declared an end to the former succession system and proclaimed a new Crown Prince and Basic Law of the State to allow for the modernization and transformation of the nation's economic, political, and social structures. Ahmed explains Oman's political system and gives us unique insights into the new Basic Law and what it means for Oman.

This podcast is part of the larger GLD in the MENA project, funded by the Hicham Alaoui Foundation.

Find out more about Ahmed al-Mukhaini here.


Isabell Schierenbeck and Jannis Grimm on Safer Field Research in the Social Sciences


Episode 26: This month, we discuss the handbook on Safer Field Research in the Social Sciences with two of its authors Isabell Schierenbeck (University of Gothenburg) and Jannis Grimm (Freie Universität Berlin). We discuss the need for available guidance on preparing and conducting safe research within the social sciences and the new challenges to conducting safe research that Covid-19 has brought.

Selected work: 
Grimm, Jannis; Koehler, Kevin; Lust, Ellen; Saliba, Ilyas; and Schierenbeck, Isabell. (2020). "Safer Research in the Social Sciences: A Systematic Handbook for Human and Digital Security." London: SAGE Publications Inc. Find it on Amazon and on SAGE Publications

New Working Papers

The Impact of Presidential Appointment of Judges: Montesquieu or the Federalists? 

A central question in development economics is whether there are adequate checks and balances on the executive. This paper provides causal evidence on how increasing constraints on the executive, through the removal of Presidential discretion in judicial appointments, promotes the rule of law. The age structure of judges at the time of the reform and the mandatory retirement age law provide us with an exogenous source of variation in the removal of Presidential discretion in judicial appointments. According to our estimates, Presidential judicial appointments result in additional land expropriations by the government, worth 0.14% of GDP each year. 

Read the full working paper.

How Does Punishment Affect Reintegration?
Attitudes Toward Islamic State "Collaborators" in Iraq

How does variation in the severity of punishment affect public opinion toward the reintegration of former nonviolent offenders? We study this question in the context of Iraq, where the United States has been heavily involved in the design and development of criminal justice institutions since overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in 2003. Building upon extensive fieldwork and interviews in Iraq, we designed a survey experiment that randomly varied the severity of sentences in hypothetical scenarios of nonviolent Islamic State “collaborators” (e.g., cleaners, cooks, and wives of fighters) to estimate the causal effects of punishment on attitudes toward reintegration. We find that a long prison sentence (15 years) does not increase the participants’ willingness to allow the reintegration of former offenders, but a noncarceral punishment (community service) has a small, but statistically significant, positive effect. Our most striking finding is that noncarceral and community-based justice mechanisms can significantly increase the likelihood of successful reintegration after punishment. Fifteen percent of respondents who were initially opposed to the return of former offenders to their communities said that they would be willing to support reintegration if they were asked to do so by a tribal or religious leader, or if the offender completes a noncarceral rehabilitation program. These findings suggest that noncarceral, restorative, and community-based justice mechanisms may be equally or more effective than long-term incarceration for achieving the objectives of rehabilitation and eventual reintegration of former nonviolent offenders. Our study also advances the field of comparative empirical legal scholarship by providing an innovative experimental research design that can be replicated by scholars studying the causal effects of criminal justice policies in other contexts.

Read the full working paper.
If you want to find out more about this research, please see:
The research is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and Folke Bernadotte Academy. 



GLD Events

Upcoming Webinar: Local Governance in the Arab World

This webinar is part of the larger project "Governance under Decentralization: Oman in the Arab Region" funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Register here. Please note that this event is in Arabic only! 

GLD's Spring Workshop Series

GLD's Spring Workshop Series is soon coming to an end. We would like to thank all of the workshop participants for their meaningful contributions and we are looking forward to future GLD events!

The final workshop session will be held on April 29. Karen E. Ferree will present the paper "Disease Threat, Stereotypes and Covid-19: An Early View from Malawi and Zambia," co-authored with Ellen Lust, Adam Harris, Boniface Dulani, Karen Ferree, Kristen Kao, Cecilia Ahsan Jansson, and Erica Metheney. If you wish to attend, please contact
Picture from last week's Spring Workshop Series where Ellen Lust, Lauren Honing, Karen E. Ferree, and Melanie Philips presented their paper "Land and Legibility: When do Citizens Expect Secure Property Rights in Weak States?"

Opportunities: Open Positions at GLD and Call for Working Papers

Communications Officer

Job assignments will include planning the program’s communication strategy, producing newsletters, writing press releases, compiling annual reports, recording and editing podcasts, updating the program’s website, and producing content (including text, images, infographics, sound, video, etc.) for the website and social media accounts. The position requires a special focus on the program’s visual communication and imagery strategy. Clear, yet attractive, graphic production in various forms is therefore critical, as is the ability to plan, run, and implement projects from concept to completion. You will be working closely with the research program’s management team and affiliated researchers.

We are looking for someone with a degree in journalism, media, communications, political science, or any similar competence that the employer deems equivalent. You should have experience working with the tasks described above, preferably from a university, college, or research institution.

The GLD research program requires working with people from different countries and approaches, at times with very short deadlines. The candidate thus must be highly flexible, and capable of working both independently and in collaboration with others. All communication will be in English, therefore excellent written and spoken English skills are a requirement.

Type of employment: Fixed term 6 months
Extent: 100 %
Location: Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg
First day of employment: As soon as possible. 
Last day to apply: May 5th, 2021.

Read more about eligibility, job assignments, and how to apply here.

Data Analyst 

This position's main assignment is to assist the program researchers with developing and implementing data analysis plans for publications. This includes participating in discussions about analysis plans, researching new methods, writing code for model fitting and analysis of experimental data, and data visualization. The data analyst will write preliminary reports, as well as create publication-quality tables and graphs. When necessary, the data analyst will also assist with the interpretation of analysis results.

We are looking for someone with a degree in Statistics, Data Analytics, Data Science, or other related field. You should have a minimum of two courses in statistics/econometrics/quantitative methods and have extensive knowledge of quantitative methodologies and data analysis. Furthermore, you need to have demonstrated skills in data processing (cleaning data, merging data, etc) and demonstrated proficiency in at least one statistical software (STATA, R, SPSS, JMP, Python, etc.). You need to be a fast learner and have a demonstrated ability to quickly learn new types of software.

The GLD research program requires working with people from different countries and approaches, at times with very short deadlines. The candidate must therefore be very flexible and able to work independently and in collaboration with others. All communication will be in English, therefore excellent English skills are a requirement.

Type of employment: Fixed term 6 months
Extent: 100 %
Location: Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg
First day of employment: June 28th, 2021.
Last day to apply: May 11th, 2021.

Read more about eligibility, job assignments, and how to apply here.

Call for Working Papers

Would you like to have your papers read by a wide audience? We hereby invite you to submit a working paper to The Program on Governance and Local Development for publication on our website and in our SSRN eJournal series. GLD has a wide readership network, and we disseminate our findings both in Sweden and around the globe. Articles submitted for consideration in this working paper series will undergo a standard single-blind review process. Each working paper is sent to at least one expert for a friendly but critical review. Accepted manuscripts are also given a careful edit prior to publication.

Submission Guidelines
The series aims to disseminate research on local governance and development issues to scholars and policymakers. We therefore advise that manuscripts (exclusive of appendices) should not exceed 12,000 words unless by exception. Your manuscript must also be submitted in editable Word format. The series  aims to support authors as they work to publish their paper in peer-reviewed journals. Manuscripts published elsewhere will not be accepted, but papers selected for publication can be removed from the Working Paper Series before journal publication, should the journal require it.
Please consult the GLD Working Papers style guide prior to publication. All manuscripts should be submitted to
We welcome your submission and encourage you to circulate this call for papers amongst your own network.
If you have any questions, please contact
Publications and Presentations


Dionne, Kim Yi, Boniface Dulani, and Sarah Fischer. (2021). “Pandemic Amidst Political Crisis: Malawi's Experience with and Response to COVID-19." in Coronavirus Politics: The Comparative Politics and Policy of COVID-19, Greer, S.L., King, E.J., Peralta-Santos, A., and da Fonseca, E.M. (eds.). Michigan/USA: University of Michigan Press. Read

Pellicer, Miquel, Eva Wegner, Lindsay J. Benstead, and Ellen Lust. (2021). “Poor People’s Beliefs and the Dynamics of Clientelism.” Journal of Theoretical Politics. Read.


Kate Baldwin, Kristen Kao, and Ellen Lust, “How Leaders Gain Compliance Across Different Realms: Evidence from Cross-National Survey Experiments,” GLD Spring Workshop Series, April 8.

Kristen Kao, "To Punish or to Pardon? Attitudes Towards Justice and Reintegration for Europeans Who Cooperated with the Islamic State," Development Economics Seminar Series in the Department of Economics at the University of Gothenburg, April 8.

Ellen Lust (Discussant), "Historical Approaches to the Study of Middle East Politics," Midwest Political Science Association, April 14.

Ellen Lust, Lauren Honig, Melanie Phillips, and Karen E. Ferree, “Land and Legibility: When do Citizens Expect Secure Property Rights in Weak States?” GLD Spring Workshop Series, April 22.

Karen E. Ferree, “Disease Threat, Stereotypes and Covid-19: An Early View from Malawi and Zambia,” (co-authored with Ellen Lust, Adam Harris, Boniface Dulani, Kristen Kao, Cecilia Ahsan Jansson, and Erica Metheney), GLD Spring Workshop Series, April 29.

GLD Working Paper eJournal

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

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

New Article in the Journal of Theoretical Politics: 'Poor people’s beliefs and the dynamics of clientelism'

We are happy to announce that an article by Miquel Pellicer, Eva Wegner, Lindsay J. Benstead, and Ellen Lust, titled "Poor People's Beliefs and the Dynamics of Clientalism," has been accepted and published by the Journal of Theoretical Politics. 

Why do some poor people engage in clientelism whereas others do not? Why does clientelism sometimes take traditional forms and sometimes more instrumental forms? We propose a formal model of clientelism that addresses these questions, focusing primarily on the citizen’s perspective. Citizens choose between supporting broad-based redistribution or engaging in clientelism. Introducing insights from social psychology, we study the interactions between citizen beliefs and values, and their political choices. Clientelism, political inefficacy, and inequality legitimation beliefs reinforce each other leading to multiple equilibria. One of these resembles traditional clientelism, with disempowered clients that legitimize social inequalities. Community connectivity breaks this reinforcement mechanism and leads to another equilibrium where clientelism takes a modern, instrumental, form. The model delivers insights on the role of citizen beliefs for their bargaining power as well as for the persistence and transformation of clientelism. We illustrate the key mechanisms with ethnographic literature on the topic.

Find the full paper here.


Short-Term Grant Recipents

Adam Auerbach
Assistant Professor, School of International Service 
American University

Tanu Kumar
Postdoctoral Fellow, Global Research Institute and Dept. of Government
College of William & Mary

This month, GLD awarded one Short-Term Grant to Adam Auerbach and Tanu Kumar for their research project "Citizenship Practice in India’s Middle-Class Unauthorized Colonies." The grant will facilitate their upcoming Covid-19-friendly fieldwork, and we will publish their results in a GLD Working Paper. We look forward to seeing this project develop, and offer Adam and Tanu our congratulations!

If you are interested in applying for a GLD Short-Term Grant in the future, please visit our website. The next Short-Term Grant application period will run from September 15 to October 31.

Staff Announcements 

Jennifer Bergman and Mina Ghassaban Kjellén are GLD's New Associate Researchers

Jennifer Bergman 
Mina Ghassaban Kjellén

We are happy to announce that Jennifer Bergman and Mina Ghassaban Kjellén are GLD's new Associate Researchers!

Jennifer has been a research intern at GLD since the fall of 2020, and she is now joining us as an Associate Researcher. She holds a BA in International Relations from Queen Mary College, University of London, and an MA in Conflict, Security and Development from King’s College, University of London. She is interested in the nexus of conflict and development and how it interacts with global health, migration, and gender from a post-colonial perspective.

Mina has been an Associate Researcher at GLD since the fall of 2020 and has extended her stay at GLD for another six months. 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.


Welcome back, Tove! 

We are happy to announce that Tove Wikehult is back as GLD's Program Coordinator! 

"It feels great to be back! No matter how great it is to be home with a little baby, I've missed my colleagues and the fast pace at GLD. I'm also enjoying being back in an international environment."


And Finally...

... Subscribe to GLD's Newsletter 




Our mailing address is:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.