Kristen Kao is a Research Fellow with the Program on Governance and Local Development at the University of Gothenburg. She is also currently a PhD Candidate in the Political Science Department at UCLA. She first traveled to the Middle East on a Fulbright grant to learn Arabic in Egypt in 2006. Since then, she has spent summers in Oman, Syria, and Jordan culminating in two years of dissertation fieldwork between Jordan and Kuwait. During her fieldwork, she served as a program consultant and election monitor for a variety of international organizations including The Carter Center and the National Democratic Institute. In 2014, she ran a nationwide survey in Jordan in collaboration with Ellen Lust and Lindsay Benstead funded by the Governance and Local Development program at Yale. Her research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the American Center of Oriental Research, the National Security Education Program, and the Project on Middle East Political Science, among others.
Kristen's dissertation research investigates the effect of electoral institutions on patterns of rent distribution, ethnic clientelism, and tribal voting behavior. Her broader research interests include the study of electoral authoritarianism, ethnic politics, survey methodology, field experiments, politics of the MENA region, and voter behavior.
Kristen's current research agenda includes understanding why authoritarian regimes choose to employ different types electoral institutions, the influence of formal versus informal institutions as well as authority structures in new contexts, and patterns of vote buying and clientelism in elections.
Please see my CV and my website for more information.
My website: http://www.kristenkao.com
+46 (0)31 786 6721