Published work:


  • Electoral Rules, Women’s Representation and the Qualification of Politicians, with Paola Profeta, accepted in Comparative Political Studies
  • Hybrid Governance and the Attribution of Political Responsibility: Experimental Evidence from the United States, with Paolo Belardinelli and Anthony Bertelli, in Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory

  • The Political Cost of Public-Private Partnerships: Theory and Evidence from Colombian Infrastructure Development, with Anthony Bertelli and Camila Angulo Amaya, in Governance

  • Corruption, Democracy and Infrastructure Agreements, with Anthony Bertelli and Valentina Mele, in Administration & Society


  • Partnership Communities: Political Accountability and the Success of Infrastructure Development Around the World, with Anthony Bertelli, Michele Castiglioni and Paolo Belardinelli, Cambridge University Press, Elements Series

Book chapters:

  • New Frontiers in the Politics of Public-Private Partnerships, with Anthony Bertelli in the forthcoming book Research Agenda for Public-Private Partnerships and the Governance of Infrastructure: New Frontiers and Themes in a Contested World edited by Carsten Greve and Graeme Hodge, Edward Elgar Publishing

Work in progress:


  • Electoral Accountability, Public Officials and Surrogacy Behaviours (under review)

Abstract: Improving knowledge regarding how to produce predictable, regular outcomes in democratic governance is a fundamental objective of the public administration scholar. However, surprisingly little is known about how changes to national politics can affect the behaviour of local public officials. Using novel data on a political scandal in Italy and a Difference-in-Differences estimation strategy, I provide evidence that a sudden increase in electoral accountability for national deputies impacts negatively upon the behaviour of local-level public officials. In treated districts, where deputies are accused of malfeasance, local level bureaucratic corruption increases significantly as compared to non-treated districts. This situation was made possible, I argue, by a de facto system of political appointments in the bureaucracy. My results show how, in contexts characterised by systemic corruption, changes intended to enhance accountability can trigger a series of mechanisms within the political machine leading to overall welfare-decreasing outcomes enacted through the bureaucracy.

  • The Distributive Politics of Privately Financed Infrastructure Agreements (under review)

Abstract: A question of first order importance in political science is whether citizens are able to hold their political representatives accountable for government performance, by evaluating incumbents’ ability to provide public services. However, little is known about how hybrid forms of public service delivery disrupt traditional patterns of distributive politics. Privately financed infrastructure agreements (PFIAs) are an increasingly popular form of hybrid public service delivery that is being used extensively across the globe. I analyse whether or not PFIAs follow nonprogrammatic distributive patterns and explore how a project’s features affect its distributive use. My novel geo-coded dataset linking public infrastructure PFIAs to subnational electoral districts in 13 low- and middle-income countries over 24 years, allows me to undertake a cross-national analysis of how PFIAs are electorally distributed. Results show that PFIAs are used to target government-aligned swing districts. However, when projects are less directly attributable to the government this targeting pattern disappears, suggesting that other political logics are at work when governments cannot convincingly claim credit for projects.

  • Corruption by Politicians Reduces Pro-Social Behavior by Bureaucrats: Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh, with Jan-Hinrik Meyer-Sahling, Kim Sass Mikkelsen, Christian Schuster, Kazi Maruful Islam and Taiabur Rahman

Abstract: Numerous studies assess how politicians control and shape bureaucracy. Yet, how politicians as role models affect the norms and behaviors of bureaucrats has not been studied. This is a curious omission, in light of evidence that social norms shape bureaucratic behavior. We address this gap for one key behavior of political leaders: corruption. We argue that corruption by politicians models self-serving behavior as a norm, which undermines bureaucrats’ perception of the state as a provider of services for others, leading to a reduction in their pro-social behavior. We provide evidence for this argument through a lab-in-the-field experiment with X bureaucrats in Bangladesh. In a self-persuasion prime experiment, bureaucrats who recall episodes of political corruption donate significantly lower real monetary amounts to charity. Our findings underscore the importance of political leaders as role models for bureaucrats and the damage that political corruption does for pro-social behavior in bureaucracies.

All working papers are available upon request.