I’m currently working on the Political Economy of Democracy Promotion project, a collaboration between the University of Birmingham’s International Development Department and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, the UK’s most prominent democracy promotion organisation. WFD, funded by the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, works to support parliaments, political parties and civil society organisations around the world.
The Political Economy of Democracy Promotion project aims to identify the conditions under which democracy promotion activities are successful and how they can be improved. It has produced a series of policy papers (available here) that provide practitioners with advice on how to make their programmes more effective. In the current phase of the project, we’re examining how the political inclusion of women – and in particular, their inclusion on parliamentary committees – can reduce inequality in the health sector, and the circumstances under which this is most likely to occur.
Building on my recent work on the behaviour of international election observers in sub-Saharan Africa, I’m also developing plans for a new research project that examines the practice of election observation and the impact of academic research on perceptions of African elections.
My broader research interests include democratisation, the politics of international development, and the interaction of state-capacity and democracy. Although my fieldwork has – to date – focused on sub-Saharan Africa, I am also interested in the politics of South East Asia.