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GLD Newsletter
May 2021

In This Newsletter

  • Governance Uncovered: Adam Auerbach & Tariq Thachil on Covid-19 Challenges in India's "Slum Settlements"
  • New GLD Working Papers: "Local Politics and Tunisia's First Democratic Municipal Elections," "Labour, Reputation, and Trust between Syrian Refugees and Lebanese Hashish Farmers," and "International NGOs and Healthcare Delivery in Refugee Crises"
  • GLD Events
  • Call for Working Papers
  • Staff Announcements
  • ... and much more! 

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Governance Uncovered

Adam Auerbach and Tariq Thachil on Covid-19 Challenges in India's "Slum Settlements"

Episode 27: This month, we talk to Adam Auerbach (American University) and Tariq Thachil (University of Pennsylvania) about COVID-19 challenges in India’s so-called “slum settlements.”
They argue that the landscape of service delivery is increasingly centralized, and the lack of property rights in slum settlements shape relations between the citizens and the state. Most residents feel that the state is dismissive in their response to COVID-19 in India's urban slums. They further analyze how settlement leaders are coping with COVID-19, as it is very difficult to socially distance in the overcrowded slums.
Selected work:
Auerbach, Adam Michael and Tariq Thachil. (2020). “How Does COVID-19 Affect Urban Slums? Evidence from Settlement Leaders in India.” World Development.

New Working Papers

Local Political Priorities during Tunisia’s First Democratic
Municipal Elections

In May 2018, Tunisia held the country’s first democratic local elections to elect representatives to the country’s 350 municipal councils. Democratic consolidation depends, in part, on the development of municipal councils that can aggregate and process diverse societal interests at the local level, as well as on the ability of political candidates and politicians to represent and respond to citizens’ priorities. In this paper, we examine the local development priorities of candidates and citizens. We find that, overall, the municipal election candidates’ local priorities for governance do broadly correspond to those of citizens. For both candidates and citizens, the top four local issues are local roads, waste and the environment, local jobs, and security. Given the use of gender and age electoral quotas, we also examine how individual-level characteristics, such as gender and age, are correlated with the local development priorities of candidates and citizens. We find that women and youth do hold different priorities than their older and male counterparts, both at the citizen and candidate level. Accordingly, the quotas may improve substantive as well as descriptive representation. Finally, we examine the congruence of candidate and citizen priorities. We find a notable gap in local political priorities between candidates and citizens, particularly over employment and local security issues: citizens place a greater emphasis on employment than candidates and candidates place a greater emphasis on security. Drawing on interviews with municipal council candidates and surveys of both candidates and citizens, we argue that these differences result from the patterns of selection into political candidacy and confusion over the mandate of local councillors. 

Read the full working paper. 

Bread and Salt: Labour, Reputation, and Trust between Syrian Refugees and Lebanese Hashish Farmers in the Northern Biqa’a

This paper addresses the intersection between forced migration, labour markets, and governance. Drawing on extensive fieldwork amongst Syrian refugees in the Northern Biqa’a Valley, Lebanon, the paper argues that understanding ‘refugees as labourers’ are central in explaining practices of both Lebanese villagers and Syrian refugee camps. This article builds on the findings of recent labour ethnographies in the Levant (Chalcraft, 2009; Proudfoot, 2017; Sajadian, 2020; Saleh, 2016; Turner, 2016) to demonstrate the centrality of labour-capital relations to understanding the governance of newly settled communities. Labour is a fundamentally important feature in the life of a camp, interacting with and underpinning other patterns of interactions based on, for example, state apparatus, infrastructure, and inter-tribal conflict. The article presents and analyses four ethnographic vignettes of typical economic partnerships between Lebanese landowners and Syrian refugee-labourers in rural Lebanon. Each relationship entails a pattern of mirrored capacities and weaknesses, structurally replicated throughout rural Lebanon, creating an environment of labour insecurity and heightening the value of long-term, trusting relationships.

Read the full working paper.

Equity with Prejudice: International NGOs and Healthcare Delivery in Refugee Crises

Refugees often face prejudice in host countries. Does local resentment of refugees result in discrimination in access to social services? We explore the quality of care received by Syrian refugees and Lebanese nationals in Lebanese health facilities using data from original surveys in a nationally representative sample of primary health centers. The conventional wisdom in research on intergroup relations suggests Syrians would receive inferior services, while research on prosocial behavior would predict little variation, whether due to intrinsic or extrinsic motivations. Our results indicate no difference in the quality of care for Syrians and Lebanese. Instead, they suggest incentives from international organizations at both the organizational and individual levels, as well as perceived public health imperatives, may explain equitable treatment, despite evidence for prejudice against Syrians. The findings advance research on the politics of refugee crises and humanitarian response, illuminating the experience of everyday life for refugees.

Read the full working paper. 




Upcoming: Prisca Jöst to defend her PhD Dissertation 

We are very pleased to announce that Prisca Jöst will defend her PhD dissertation, titled "The Political Participation of the Poor," on June 11! 
Date: 11 June 2021
Time: 14:15 - 16:00 (GMT+2)
Location: Zoom - If you would like to attend, please find the Zoom link here closer to the dissertation date.

GLD-APSN Webinar on Local Governance in the Arab World: Cases and Experiences

This month, GLD and the Arab Political Science Network (APSN) organized a webinar on Local Governance in the Arab World: Cases and Experiences.
We would like to thank everyone who participated, with special thanks to our panellists Marwa Shalaby, Ahmed Jazouli, Intissar Kherigi, and Ahmed Al-Mukhaini for their meaningful contributions. We would also like to thank the Carnegie Corporation of New York for funding the larger GLD project "Governance under Decentralization: Oman in the Arab Region." 

Watch the full webinar here.

Virtual Workshop on Gender and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa: A Decade after the Arab Uprisings 

This month, Ellen Lust, Marwa Shalaby (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and Lena Wägnerud (University of Gothenburg) held a virtual workshop to examine gender and politics across regimes and cultural contexts in the MENA. The workshop was a collaborative effort by researchers at GLD, the Quality of Government (QoG) Institute, and the Working Group on Gender and Politics in the MENA.

We would like to thank all of the participants for their meaningful contributions: 
Carla Abdo-Katsipis (Wesleyan University)
Meriem Aissa (Rutgers University)
Nadje Al-Ali (Brown University)
Nermin Allam (Rutgers University)
Sa’ed Atshan (Swarthmore College / University of California, Berkeley)
Carolyn Barnett (Princeton University)
Ebtesam Barakat (Zefat Academic College/Bar-Ilan University/Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Lindsay Benstead (Portland State University)
Alexandra Blackman (Cornell University)
Selin Cagatay (University of Gothenburg and Central European University)
Gamze Cavdar (Colorado State University)
Marie Carlson (University of Gothenburg)
Mounira M. Charrad (University of Texas at Austin)
Yasmin Chilmeran (Swedish Institute of International Affairs)
Julia Clark (University of California, San Diego)
Pinar Dokumaci (Queen's University)
Kate Ellis (American University in Cairo)
Rola El-Husseini (Lund University)
Summer Forester (Carleton College)
Rita H. Giacaman (Birzeit University)Maria Holt (University of Westminster)
Mahmoud Jaraba (Erlangen Centre for Islam and Law in Europe (EZIRE) / Max Plank Institute)
Suad Joseph (University of California, Davis)
Tuba Kanci (Kocaeli University)
Patrick Marius Koga (University of California, Davis)
Monica Komer (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Maria Frederika Malmström (Lund University)
Tommaso Milani (University of Gothenburg)
Valentine M. Moghadam (Northeastern University)
Yuree Noh (Rhode Island College / Harvard Kennedy School)
Kelsey Norman (Baker Institute, Rice University)
Isis Nusair (Denison University)
Carrie Reiling (Washington College)
Aytuğ Şaşmaz (Harvard University)
Simona Sharoni (Merrimack College)
Lihi Ben Shitrit (University of Georgia)
Ora Szekely (Clark University)
Aili Tripp (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Hind Ahmed Zaki (University of Connecticut)
Tanya Zion-Waldoks (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

This workshop is part of the larger "Gender and Politics in the MENA" project, funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond. You can find more information about the project and the workshop here

Opportunities: 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 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, Presentations, and News


Benstead, Lindsay J. (2021). “The Impact of Poverty and Corruption on Educational Quality in Tunisia.” in Hicham Alaoui and Robert Springborg (eds.), The Political Economy of Education in the Arab World, Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Benstead, Lindsay J. (2021). "Poverty, Inequality and Corruption: Explaining Variation in Educational Quality in Tunisia." Wilson Center’s Middle East ProgramRead.

Irgil, Ezgi. (2021). Book Review, "Exit and Voice: The Paradox of Cross-Border Politics in Mexico," by Lauren Duquette-Rury, Oakland, California: University of California Press, 2019. International Migration. Read

Shalaby, Marwa; Allam, Nermin; and Buttorff, Gail J. (2021). “Leveling the Field: Gender Inequity in Academia During COVID.” PS: Political Science & Politics. Read.


Lindsay J. Benstead, “The Impact of Poverty and Corruption on Educational Quality in Tunisia,” Book Launch, The Woodrow Wilson Center, April 7.

Lindsay J. Benstead, "Do Women Provide More Casework? Using Elite Surveys to Explain Representation in Arab Parliaments," GLD Gender and Politics in MENA Workshop, May 7.

Marwa Shalaby,  "Discerning the Link Between Women's Substantive and Descriptive Representation Under Authoritarianism," GLD Gender and Politics in MENA Workshop, May 7.

Marwa Shalaby, "Local Governance in the Arab World: Cases and Experiences," Webinar in collaboration with APSN and GLD, May 26. 

Erica Ann Metheney,  "Introduction to QGIS for Research," Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, May 28. 

In the News

Lindsay J. Benstead quoted in Africa Manager 2021. "The Recipe to Make School Less Bad!" Africa Manager, Middle East and North Africa, May 23. Read Article.

GLD Working Paper eJournal

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

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

Staff Announcements 

Program Managers Dalila Sabanic and Tove Wikehult on Leave

June brings some changes to GLD's Administration Team as our Program and Financial Manager Dalila Sabanic and our Program Coordinator Tove Wikehult will both be on leave from the first of June. We wish them the best on their respective journeys and look forward to their return!

During their absences, their jobs will be covered by Isabel Wilson and Rose Shaber-Twedt. Should you have any questions or outstanding projects with either Dalila or Tove, please email and someone will get back to you shortly!

Welcome back, Isabel!

We are happy to announce that Isabel Wilson has joined GLD's administrative team!

Isabel Wilson was a research intern at GLD in Fall 2020 while she was finishing the last year of her Master’s degree in International Administration and Global Governance at the University of Gothenburg. Isabel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Global Studies from Jönköping University with the thesis “Arctic Self-Determination or Arctic Self-Interest? Limited Liberation for the Arctic indigenous Peoples within the Nation-State.” Her academic interests include politics of development, women in governance, indigenous rights, conflict transformation, democratization, and the African and Asia-Pacific regions.



Farewell and Thank You, Adilhan, Daniela, and Samuel! 

Adilhan Adil, Daniela Völp, and Samuel Larsson have been with GLD as Interns for the last 20 weeks. Adilhan has been helping GLD with communications and management, and Daniela and Samuel have been helping the research and data teams. We thank them for their time at GLD and wish them good luck in their futures! 

And Finally...

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