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GLD Newsletter
February 2021

In This Newsletter

  • New findings on Covid-19 response in Zambia
  • New working paper on municipal boundaries and the politics of space in Tunisia
  • New shared grant to study poverty 
  • Upcoming GLD events
  • Internships and Short-Term Grants
  • Publications and presentations
  • ... and much more! 

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In the Spotlight:

New Findings on Covid-19 Response in Zambia 

The second GLD-SAIPAR Covid-19 survey results are now available to the public. You can see the interactive reports on Covid-19 needs and assistance, life changes and fears, community restrictions, and social challenges for Zambia below. 

These reports are part of the GLD project, Developing a Locally Rooted Approach to Covid-19 Response. Please find all reports, publications, and previous webinars here

New Working Paper

Municipal Boundaries and the Politics of Space in Tunisia

This paper examines Tunisia’s 2015-17 municipal boundary reform process, undertaken in preparation for the decentralization process mandated under the 2014 constitution. It analyzes how municipal boundary decisions were made, the actors who were involved, and the logic that shaped the reform process. Through extensive fieldwork in the capital, Tunis, and in eight municipalities around Tunisia, this paper explores how the underpinning logics of national decision-making collide with the spatial realities of local actors. This paper argues that the municipal boundary reforms were guided by a combination of security-based and clientelist logics that imposed centralized conceptions of space and failed to engage with territories as lived spaces. Furthermore, it argues that, by failing to address the social, economic, and spatial implications of boundary reforms, the reforms contributing to producing a de-spatialized decentralization process that ultimately has little meaning for residents and proves problematic for the resulting municipalities and their constituent relations. The process thus replicates many of the same logic and conceptions of space that have shaped territorial governance since the colonial era.

This paper is part of the larger Governance and Local Development in the MENA project, funded by the Hicham Alaoui Foundation. 

Read the full working paper.




New Shared Grant From Vetenskapsrådet to Measure Poverty by Combining Satellite Images and Artificial Intelligence

We are pleased to announce that GLD Director Ellen Lust and her colleagues Adel Daoud (Department of Sociology, GU – Principal PI), Dr Fredrik Johansson (Chalmers, GU), Dr Maria Brandén (Linköping University), Professor Xiao-Li Meng (Harvard University), Professor Peter Hedström (KTH), and Professor Devdatt Dubhashi (Chalmers, GU) have been awarded a Research Environment Grant by Vetenskapsrådet for the purposes of studying the extent to which African communities are trapped in poverty and how competing development interventions alter the communities’ prospects to free themselves from ‘poverty traps.’ The project will combine satellite images and artificial intelligence to measure poverty from 1982-2020 and use the data to explain the effects of World Bank and Chinese development programs in Africa. The project will run for six years, starting in 2021. 

More updates on this project will be forthcoming. 

Upcoming GLD Events

GLD's Spring Workshop Series

This month, GLD held the first GLD Spring Workshop sessions. The series is aimed at sharing findings based on GLD data and workshopping findings into well-crafted articles. We would like to thank all participants and are looking forward to the upcoming sessions (find the schedule below), 

For more information about the seminar series, or if you wish to attend, please contact

GLD Workshop Series 
Spring 2021 
16.00-17.00 CET 


Date Topic
4 March  Salma Mousa and Kristen Kao: "Engaging Citizens in Local Governance: A Recycling Experiment in a Low Institutional Trust Context"
11 March  Pierre Landry: "Importance of Contextual Variables on the Analysis of Survey Data"
18 March  Adam Harris, Kristen Kao, Erica Metheney and Ellen Lust: "ESI Paper" 
25 March  Ellen Lust: "Clientelism, Credibility and Context" 
8 April  Kate Baldwin, Kristen Kao and Ellen Lust: "How Leaders Gain Compliance Across Different Realms: Evidence from Cross-National Survey Experiments"

Opportunities: Internships and Short-Term Grants

Internships at GLD 

If you are thinking about pursuing an internship as part of your studies, we are currently accepting applications for three different internships: ResearchData Science, and Project Management/Communications. Click here to learn more about these positions.

We are also looking for research interns who are interested in aspects of migrant integration in Sweden, Jordan, and Turkey. The internship will be carried out in English, but knowledge of Arabic is a requirement for this particular position. Click here to learn more about this position. 

Benefits of a GLD Internship
  • Gain valuable work experience in a research environment
  • Learn new skills
  • Apply knowledge from academic studies to real-world situations
  • Enhance your employability

Length of Internship: 10 or 20 weeks
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Working Language: English
Deadline: April 20 

To apply, please send your CV, English writing sample, and a cover letter describing which track you are applying for and why you want to do an internship at GLD to If you have any questions, please contact us via email. We ask that you submit all documents in English.

International Applicants
While we prioritize applications from University of Gothenburg students, we welcome submissions from around the world. In special circumstances, GLD can pay the cost of transportation to our Swedish offices for international applicants. Unfortunately, we are unable to pay for any living expenses during your internship.

PLEASE NOTE – due to Covid-19 restrictions, all work will be done remotely until further notice. However, you will still have the opportunity to work extensively with a wide array of researchers around the globe. Our research is still ongoing, and we look forward to your contributions to the team. 

GLD Short-Term Grants 

**Applications must be submitted by March 31**
GLD is offering a limited number of research fellowships for scholars for short-term research projects in the areas of governance and local development. Awards averaging 25,000 SEK will be offered to support projects related to critical governance issues. Themes include, but are not limited to:
  • Local governance challenges
  • Service delivery as it varies across local contexts
  • Relationship between state and non-state actors
  • Level of corruption and citizens’ perceptions of it
  • How citizens solve disputes with officials, families, and friends and how state or non-state actors are involved
  • Participation in local elections and political campaigns
  • How security services are provided in transitional periods and/or under weak central states

Due to the current circumstances, we will only consider Covid-19-friendly projects at the moment. Please keep this in mind when submitting your research proposal.

To apply, please submit your CV, research proposal (including detailed budget), and an English writing sample to NOTE – all documents must be submitted in English to be considered. Applications close 31 March 2021.

For further information, please click here. If you have any questions, please contact  
Publications, Presentations, and Press


Ferree, Karen E., Clark C. Gibson, and James D. Long. (2021). "Mixed records, complexity, and ethnic voting in African elections," World Development. Read

Kao, Kristen, Ellen Lust, and Gibran Okar. (2021). "Voting for Islamists: Mapping the Role of Religion," The Oxford Handbook of Politics in Muslim Societies. Read

Shalaby, Marwa, Nermin Allam, and Gail Buttorff. (2020).  “Gender, COVID and Faculty Service,” Inside Higher Education. Read


Prisca Jöst and Ellen Lust, "Neighborhood Social Ties and Compliance among the Poor," GLD Spring Workshop Series, February 11. 

Kristen Kao and Ellen Lust, "Signal of Strength? Clientalism and Voters' Expectations of Politicians' Performance in Malawi and Zambia," GLD Spring Workshop Series, February 25. 

Ellen Lust, "Clientelism, Credibility and Context," QoG Internal Conference, February 1-3.

Ellen Lust, "Covid-19 and Elections," co-presented with Erica Metheney, Boniface Dulani, Cecilia Ahsan Jansson, and Kristen Kao, GLD Spring Workshop Series, February 4.

GLD in the Press

Deutsche Welle 2020. "Kuwait's new all-male parliament is a blow for women's rights." Deutsche Welle, 10 December. Read article.

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!

Are Voters 'Tribal'? Karen Ferree joins Neither Free Nor Fair? Podcast 

In February, Karen E. Ferree (UCSD) joined James D. Long on his podcast "Neither Free Nor Fair?" to discuss partisanship in the US, what it means for voters to be `tribal,´ ethnic voting in South Africa and Kenya, and the implications of identity to democratic politics. The episode titled "Are Voters `Tribal´?" - can be found here.  

The episode shines a light on Karen's latest World Development article titled "Mixed records, complexity, and ethnic voting in African elections" (co-authored with Clark C. Gibson and James D. Long). You can find the WD article here

Ferree was a visiting scholar with GLD in 2020 and has authored two GLD working papers on ethnic voting in African elections; Mixed Records, Cognitive Complexity, and Ethnic Voting in Africa and Choice and Choice Set in Africa Elections. In August 2020, Karen was a guest on GLD's podcast series, Governance Uncovered, to discuss her research on ethnic voting. You can find the episode here

Virtual Workshop: Developing Survey Measures of Punishment, Revenge, and Forgiveness in Post-Conflict Settings

On February 19, 22, and 23, GLD Senior Research Fellow Kristen Kao hosted a virtual workshop on "Developing Survey Measures of Punishment, Revenge, and Forgiveness in Post-Conflict Settings" with project collaborators Kristin Fabbe (Harvard Business School) and Michael Bang Petersen (Aarhus University). For three hours each day, a group of scholars met to discuss the concepts of just punishment, revenge, and forgiveness, as well as to provide feedback on survey drafts for GLD's "From Revenge to Forgiveness" project.  Michael McCullough, Everett Worthington, Roger Petersen, James Gibson, Fotini Christia, Salma Mousa, Karin Dyrstad, Alexandra Hartman, Mara Revkin, Muslih Irwani, Dan Posner and Marsin AlShamari all participated, and we would like to thank them again for their extremely helpful contributions.

The workshop was part of the "From Revenge to Forgiveness: Strengthening Durable Peace in Post-Conflict Societies" project, funded by Riksbanken Jubileumsfond and the Folke Bernadotte Academy. To see more about the project, click here.

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