Scholars


Lise Rakner

Lise Rakner is Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen and Senior Research Fellow at the Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway. Her research interests cover the fields of Comparative Democratization, with particular emphasis on human rights, elections and political parties in sub-Saharan Africa. Rakner's work also extents to political economy, with an emphasis on economic reforms, taxation, business associations, budget processes and aid effectiveness. She has conducted a number of governance analyses for international agencies (Danida, DFID, Norad, SIDA, World Bank). She has published extensively in international journals on issues of governance aid, elections, political parties and political institutions, taxation and economic reforms. Over the past two decades, she has led and coordinated ten international research teams and projects, working with an extensive group of collaborating partners and organized twenty international conferences, the main research collaborations have been carried out in Malawi, Uganda and Zambia. In research leadership, she places great emphasis on equal partnership, co-publishing and the inclusion of junior colleagues. With Peter Burnell and Vicky Randall, she is the editor of Oxford University Press Politics in the Developing World (5th edition forthcoming 2016). With Leo Arriola, UC Berkeley, she has recently established the Bergen-Berkeley research program on political parties in the developing world.

Vibeke Wang

Vibeke Wang is a postdoctoral researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute and holds a PhD in comparative politics from the University of Bergen, Norway. Her research on representation, law reform, legislative institutions, and gender quotas in Sub-Saharan Africa has appeared in The Journal of Modern African Studies, Representation, Women’s Studies International Forum, and edited volumes. She is the co-editor of a special issue on the relationship between democratization and quota policies in Africa (Women’s Studies International Forum 2013). Currently she is working on two three-year projects funded by the Norwegian Research Council. The projects explore issues of women’s political representation in Malawi, Uganda, and Zambia.

Adam Harris

Adam Harris received his Ph.D. from New York University in August 2015. He specializes in ethnic and African politics. In his dissertation, he seeks to understand why some voters (up to 52% of African voters) do not support their ethnic group’s party. To answer this question, he develops and measures the concept of ethnic proximity that moves beyond the academic convention of co-ethnicity to more fully consider the complex role ethnicity plays in political preference formation. The dissertation argues that the degree to which ethnic group membership influences political preferences is determined by one’s position in her ethnic group, which is in turn determined by her ethnic attributes (her ethnic proximity). The dissertation uses original panel survey and experimental data to test the effect of ethnic proximity on voter preferences in South Africa. The results are also replicated in the US and Ugandan contexts. In short, his dissertation concludes that those who are less proximate to their own group and more proximate to an out-group are more likely to be swing voters and will have weaker preferences for their ethnic group’s party. Adam has also conducted research on ethnic identifiability (recently published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution), ethnic and immigrant prejudice, the determinants of political protests, ideological ideal point estimation among African legislators, and the effects of foreign aid in recipient countries. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, New York University, and Columbia University.