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June 2021

In This Newsletter

  • Governance Uncovered: The Citizens of Northern Rural India Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner
  • GLD Working Papers: Electoral Responsiveness in Closed Autocracies; Women Leaders; Crowdsourcing and Citizen Participation in Government Elections. 
  • Job Vacancies
  • Call for Working Papers
  • GLD Events
  • Staff Announcements
  • ... and much more! 

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Governance Uncovered

Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner on the Politics of Citizen's Complaints in Rural India

Episode 28: This month, we talk to Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner, Assistant Professor of Politics and Global Studies at the University of Virginia. Gabrielle’s research examines citizenship practices and local governance, with a regional focus on India. 

In this episode, we discuss the problems that citizens face in northern rural India, a setting noted for variable public administration and often callous treatment of citizens by officials. 

Selected work:
Kruks-Wisner, Gabrielle. (2021). "Great Expectations, Great Grievances: The Politics of Citizens’ Complaints in India." Comparative Politics.

Kruks-Wisner, Gabrielle. (2018). "Claiming the State: Active Citizenship and Social Welfare in Rural India." Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108185899.
Listen now!

New Working Paper

Electoral Responsiveness in Closed Autocracies: Evidence from Petitions in the former German Democratic Public 

Contested elections are usually seen as preconditions for constituent responsiveness. This paper shows that even uncontested elections can create incentives for dictators to respond to and address citizen demands. This paper argues that autocratic governments engage in cycles of responsiveness to assure citizens of their competence before uncontested elections and ensure that high popular support mitigates the short-term destabilizing effects that elections can have. Using a unique dataset of petitions to the government of the former German Democratic Republic, this paper shows that response times to petitions were up to 31 percent shorter before elections, and that success rates were up to 63.6 percent higher. While extant research on responsiveness in autocracies usually highlights the incentives of local officials, these results were driven by the central government. This paper furthers our understanding of electoral mobilization in closed regimes and contributes to an emerging research agenda on responsiveness and accountability in autocracies.
Read full paper

Women Leaders: Exploring the Effects of the Chief Executive Gender on Budget Composition in Comparative Perspective

Arguably, the single person with the most influence over any country’s policies is the chief executive, head of state, or head of government. Research has also consistently shown systematic gender differences in politicians’ priorities and behavior. Yet, few academic manuscripts connect these two lines of research; we have not understood to a sufficient extent the effects of having a woman chief executive. To fill this gap, this paper studies the imprint of gender leadership patterns on budget composition across 155 countries between 2000 and 2016. Matching methods help overcome the low number of women chief executives (36 countries) and improve the validity of causal inference. This paper shows that having a woman chief executive is associated with a subsequent increase in government spending for healthcare – a policy consistently found to be higher on women’s priority lists than men’s. This positive effect is present only when women hold de-facto power – i.e., not when women hold ceremonial positions – and is not present when considering education or military resources expenditure. Thus, the findings from this paper add to the evidence that identity politics matter, as women national leaders can have transformative effects on policy outputs, particularly in areas prioritized by women.
Read full paper

Citizen Participation in Local Government Elections in the Age of Crowdsourcing: Explorations and Considerations in Tanzania 

This study sought to explore crowdsourced monitoring of local government elections and the challenges hindering citizen participation in monitoring processes through digital tools. Non-governmental election monitoring organizations have embraced technology and crowdsourcing methods for generating election information. Digital tools have changed how election monitors and citizens connect, observe, create, and share political information. This study was influenced by the fact that, despite the existence of local election crowdsourced monitoring initiatives, none of the existing research explores crowdsourced election monitoring at the local level. This study explores and considers the 2014 local elections in Tanzania. This paper utilised document analysis, first to review types of crowdsourcing and their deployment in election monitoring, and key informant interviews to explore issues surrounding citizen participation in local election monitoring through crowdsourcing. It found that, while crowdsourcing monitoring is used in local elections, citizen participation faces various challenges. The analysis shows that, among others, trust, costs, poor preparation and crowdsource planning, the digital divide, and poor infrastructure are critical challenges facing local crowdsourced monitoring. The findings shine a light on the emergence of local election crowdsourcing monitoring and the challenges facing citizen participation through digital technologies. To build effective, crowdsourced local election monitoring, we propose opportunities to shape crowdsourcing citizen participation through digital tools in forthcoming elections, inter alia, the use of mobile phones for free short message services, early planning, developing strategies, and building effective partnerships among government institutions, non-governmental election monitoring organizations, and the citizens.
Read full paper



GLD in the Field

The Zambian Election Panel Survey (ZEPS)

The 2021 election is a crucial test for Zambian democracy. Potentials for further democratic erosion, a decline in meaningful participation, and prospects for election-related violence have increased concerns about democracy in Zambia among both local and international stakeholders.

In a unique survey study, GLD collaborates with Jeremy Seekings (University of Cape Town), Michael Wahman (Michigan State University), Nicole Beardsworth (University of the Witwatersrand), and Matthias Krönke (University of Cape Town) to uncover trends and changes in Zambian public opinion for the 2021 election and beyond.  

Using the Zambia Election Panel Survey (ZEPS), a first-of-its-kind, multistage voter panel survey, the research focuses on democracy and institutions, political campaigns and voter choice, and COVID-19 and political participation. 


DevRes 2021

This month, GLD participated in DevRes 2021 - a conference that aimed to "provide a creative forum for all participating and connecting to contribute on how research for development can advance the transformation for sustainability with a focus on low-resource settings." 

We would like to  thank  all visitors and participants that joined the conference. Also, many thanks to the organizers: Umeå University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the Swedish Research Council, Sida, and Formas, for making this conference possible. 

Congratulations Prisca!

Warmest congratulations to Prisca Jöst, who, on June 11, defended her doctoral thesis: "The Political Participation of the Poor: Local Social Context and the Impact of Social Ties on the Political Engagement of Poor Individuals." The defence took place on Zoom and was organized by the Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg. Congratulations Dr Jöst!

Find Prisca's dissertation here!
Prisca's email: prisca.jö

Save the date: GLD Fall Workshop Series 2021

This year, our Annual Conference will take the form of a Workshop Series. Researchers from universities all over the world will present and discuss findings relating to this year's theme: Governance, People, and Space. The workshops will be taking place virtually every second week throughout the fall of 2021, hosting three interesting presentations. The aim is to examine how governance mechanisms and outcomes vary across differences in people (e.g. gender, ethnicity) and space (e.g., neighborhoods, villages/cities, and other spatial contexts). We will consider governance by both state and non-state actors and institutions and have welcomed proposals from both scholars and practitioners seeking to understand how governance processes and practices both differ and intersect across these spatial and demographic areas.

Date: September 1 - November 23



We are looking for a Program Coordinator to join our team! 

Job tasks: Administrative work, coordinate GLD conferences, workshops, meetings, and events. Assist colleagues administratively (e.g. book travel arrangements, managing procurements, and scheduling). Take part in identifying new research grants and assist in preparing research applications. 

Qualifications: Bachelor's degree or higher within political science or social science. Experience from working with an international research program similar to GLD is meritorious. This position requires handling different types of work tasks in a structured way and being able to work both independently as well as cooperate with the team. Organizing and planning skills are critical. Finally, this job role requires fluency in both Swedish and English, spoken and written. 

Employment: The employment is a temporary position, full-time (100%) for six months, with placement at the Department of Political Science.

Start date: As soon as possible.
Apply now!

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 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 papers 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 submission. 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


Benstead, Lindsay J., and Van Lehman, Daniel. (2021). “Two Classes of ‘Marriage’: Race and Sexual Slavery in Al-Shabaab Controlled Southern Somalia.” The Journal of the Middle East and Africa. Read 

Dulani, Boniface, Harris, Adam, Lust, Ellen, Ferree, Karen E., Kao, Kristen, Jansson, Cecilia Ahsan, and Metheney, Erica Ann. (2021). "Elections in the Time of Covid-19: The Triple Crises Around Malawi’s 2020 Presidential Elections," Journal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties. Read

Jöst, Prisca. (2021). The Political Participation of the Poor: Local Social Context and the Impact of Social Ties on the Political Engagement of Poor Individuals. (Doctoral thesis, Göteborg Studies in Politics,167). Gothenburg: Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg. Read. 


Baldwin, Kate, Kao, Kristen, and Lust, Ellen. "Authority and Legitimacy: Evidence from Conjoint Endorsement Experiments in Malawi and Zambia." EPSA 2021, June 23-25.

Jöst, Prisca and Lust, Ellen. "Neighborhood Social Ties and Compliance among the Poor." EPSA 2021, June 23-25.

Kao, Kristen. "How Does Punishment Affect Reintegration? Evidence from Islamic State "Collaborators" in Iraq.” The Scripts and Settings of Transitional Justice: Procedure, Protocol and Form, MINERVA, June 16. 

Kao, Kristen and Lust, Ellen. "Signal of Strength? Clientelism and Voters’ Expectations of Politicians’ Performance in Malawi and Zambia." EPSA 2021, June 23-25.

Lust, Ellen. "Clientelism, Credibility, and Context." EPSA 2021, June 23-25.

The Department of Political Science 2020. "The poor’s willingness to vote is affected by the local community." University of Gothenburg, June 10. Read. 

GLD Working Paper eJournal

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

Staff Announcements 

Thank you Olivia, and welcome Sara!

Olivia Östlin
Sara Bjurenvall
When one Communications Officer leaves, another one joins. 
Olivia Östlin first joined GLD as an intern in March 2020, and has been GLD's communications officer since May 2020 and has contributed  great insights and value to the organization with her expertise. She holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Lund, and she is now off to Lund once more to do her Masters's in Development Studies. Thank you for everything Olivia; we wish you the best of luck with your studies!

Find Olivia on LinkedIn
Sara Bjurenvall is GLD's new Communications Officer. Sara just received her Master's in Communication from the University of Gothenburg and has a Bachelor Degree in Global Studies, also from the University of Gothenburg. She has previously worked as a communications officer at an NPO called Miljöbron and did her internship at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. We are delighted to have Sara on board!

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