About Us

The Program on Governance and Local Development (GLD) is a research program based at the University of Gothenburg, originally founded in 2013 at Yale University by Program Director, Professor Ellen Lust. GLD focuses on the local factors driving governance and development. The program is dedicated to international collaboration and scientifically rigorous, policy-relevant research in an effort to promote human welfare globally. Program findings are made available to the international and domestic communities through academic publications, policy briefs, public presentations, and social media, as well as on-the-ground workshops in cooperation with local partners.





Our Mission

“We aim to promote human welfare by conducting scientifically rigorous research across the globe. Our research focuses on answering a fundamental question: why are some communities able to provide secure environments, good education, adequate healthcare, and other factors that encourage human development, while others fail to do so? We engage with communities across the world, develop methodological tools, gather data, undertake analyses on major issues affecting societies today, and disseminate findings to academics, relevant policy-makers, and  the communities in which we work.”

GLD 5 Years

This year's Annual Report is extra special for us as we celebrate our 5th anniversary at the University of Gothenburg. We hope you enjoy reading all about the GLD's challenges and successes over the last five years and what we can look forward to in 2021! 

Find the full report here.


Latest Podcasts




March 2021: GLD's 2020 Annual Report, Podcast on Tunisia, Working Paper on Turkey's Democracy, and more

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February 2021: New Covid-19 Findings, New Grant, GLD Events, Opportunities, and more 

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January 2021: Call for STG Proposals, Covid-19 Testing in Malawi, GLD Workshop Series, and more

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November 2020: Rapid Urbanization in Ghana, Stereotypes and Covid-19, Call for Working Papers, and more

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October 2020: New Funding, Covid-19 Impact on Kenya's Urban Poor, Bureaucracy in Turkey, and more

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Latest Working Papers




Media Bias, Kurdish Repression, and the Dismantling of Local Democracy in Turkey

In this article, we explore how heightened repression and the consolidation of power by the executive branch in Turkey have allowed Erdoğan to take steps that further undermine the country’s democratic evolution. We argue that Erdoğan’s increasing pressure on the media, along with the state of emergency following the 2016 coup attempt, facilitated the [...]


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Municipal Boundaries and the Politics of Space in Tunisia

This paper examines Tunisia’s 2015-17 municipal boundary reform process, undertaken in preparation for the decentralization process mandated under the 2014 constitution. It analyzes how municipal boundary decisions were made, the actors who were involved, and the logic that shaped the reform process. Through extensive fieldwork [...]


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How Gender and Local State Capacity Shape Citizens’ Use of the Mosque

There is a well-documented gender gap in mosque use in the Islamic World, with men attending Friday prayer more frequently than women. However, we know little about whether a gender gap exists among those that use the mosque for non-religious purposes. Using original survey data from Tunisia, we find that men are generally more likely than women to use [...]


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Disease Threat, Stereotypes, and Covid-19: An Early View from Malawi and Zambia 

A growing literature documents Covid–19’s health and economic effects. Can Covid–19 also exacerbate identity divisions? Psychologists argue that contagious disease increases threat perception, provoking policing of group boundaries and discrimination against perceived outsiders. We focus here on a mechanism underlying this work, the emergence [...]


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Country Reports


LGPI Tunisia: Selected Findings on Health

Tunisia has a very good health-care system compared to most of the Arab world. The healthcare system includes primary-care clinics and health centers, which deal with nearly 60 percent of public-sector medical outpatients, reproductive-health visits, schools, and student-health visits [...]


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LGPI Malawi: Selected Findings on Gender

Malawi’s context raises a number of challenges that the government, traditional leaders, civil society, and the development community are working to address. One area of particular focus is gender equality and women’s empowerment. The LGPI supports this effort by providing [...]


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Annual Report