Published work:


  • Accountability and Corruption Displacement: Evidence from Italy in Journal of Public Policy

  • Electoral Rules, Women’s Representation and the Qualification of Politicians, with Paola Profeta, 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 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:


  • 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 (under review)

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 over 900 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.

  • The Strength of Weak Tools: Resolving the Tension Between Citizens’ Welfare and Formal Instructions in Welfare-Enhancing Ways, with Dan Honig.

Abstract: Drawing on over 130 interviews and surveys with bureaucrats in eight Thai districts, we find that district-level bureaucrats face challenges in navigating conflict between two sets of accountability systems: formal accountability systems that point “up” towards Bangkok-based headquarters and informal accountability to district-level fellow bureaucrats and district citizens.  These accountability systems are in tension when – as occurs frequently – there is tension between what bureaucrats think best serves district (ampur) welfare and, thus, their organizational mission to reduce poverty and alleviate suffering (Bumbud took; Bumrung suk) and the policy directives they receive from their respective central ministries in Bangkok to which they report. There is substantial variation in how individuals resolve this tension – that is, whether bureaucrats choose to resist or adapt implementation of directives they perceive to be contrary to local welfare. Individuals’ actions are a function, we find, of the managerial context they operate in, including the managerial practices and influence of district heads (nai ampur) who have very little formal authority. To a remarkable degree bureaucrats effectively decouple from their Bangkok-based headquarters, raising the possibility that Thailand’s developmental strength is due to the de facto weakness of managerial tools behind the de jure strict hierarchical façade of the Thai state. Street level bureaucrats’ decoupling from both politicians and agency leadership appears to be not only possible, but also welfare enhancing, nuancing long-held assumptions regarding optimal bureaucratic structure and accountability.

All working papers are available upon request.

Policy papers:

  • Using Microdata for Strategic Human Resource Management and Fiscal Planning in the Public Sector, with Daniel Ortega Nieto and Rafael Alves de Albuquerque Tavares. For the World Bank book: ‘Government Analytics: An Empirical Guide to Measurement in Public Administration’ edited by Daniel Rogger and Christian Schuster
  • Government Analytics Using Data on Task and Project Completion, with Daniel Rogger and Martin Williams. For the World Bank book: ‘Government Analytics: An Empirical Guide to Measurement in Public Administration’ edited by Daniel Rogger and Christian Schuster

All policy papers are available upon request.