Ruth Carlitz is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Program on Governance and Local Development (GLD) at the University of Gothenburg. She received her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles in June 2016. Her research looks at government responsiveness from the ‘top down’ (how governments distribute public goods) and the ‘bottom up’ (what citizens and non-governmental organizations can do to promote transparency and accountability). Ruth’s dissertation focuses on Tanzania, where nearly half of the population languishes without access to a clean and safe source of drinking water despite massive investments in this sector in recent years. In order to make sense of this disconnect, she analyzes finely-grained, geo-coded data on spending and infrastructure construction for water provision, contextualized by public opinion surveys, interviews and focus group discussions. She finds that Tanzania's strategy of decentralizing water provision to local governments has largely failed to improve access, due to political favoritism at the local level as well as a ‘demand-responsive approach’ that privileges wealthier communities.
In addition to her academic research, Ruth has worked on evaluations commissioned by organizations including the World Bank, the International Budget Partnership, and the Institute of Development Studies. Ruth lived in Tanzania from 2006-2008, where she worked with the local NGO HakiElimu. She has also conducted fieldwork in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda.
Ruth’s current research agenda is concerned with comparing different logics of accountability across different types of public goods. She is currently working to extend the findings of her dissertation by comparing patterns of distribution for water infrastructure, electricity, and schools in Tanzania. Ruth is also currently working on a WASH Poverty Diagnostic for Tanzania commissioned by the World Bank.
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