Current Projects

On this page, I provide information about a selection of current projects.

Co-PI, World Bank SIEF Nimble Evaluation and DFID Anti-Corruption Evidence (ACE) Project, Detecting and Deterring Medication Theft: A Field Study in Health Clinics in Malawi

The theft of medicines costs governments and donors billions of dollars annually. In Malawi, the government loses about 30 percent of the drugs and medical supplies it purchases to theft. Despite years of donor-funded third-party distribution systems, a survey we conducted in 2015 found that 35 percent of private clinics were selling donor-supplied anti-malarial drugs that had been donated for free use. This evaluation aims to precisely measure medicine theft via novel tracking technology and to test the effectiveness of a low-cost monitoring message intervention. Read more about our baseline data collection findings in this blog post. NOTE: Due to the sensitive nature of this project, please contact me for additional research design details.

Co-PI, USAID-DRG Impact Evaluation: Local Government Accountability Program (LGAP) in Malawi

USAID/Malawi is carrying out the five-year Local Government Accountability Program (LGAP). This large-scale accountability initiative includes many components, and the impact evaluation (Co-PIs: Lucy Martin and myself) focuses on the components that aim to improve revenue generation at the local level. Specifically, in a 2×2 factorial experiment, we examine how mitigating barriers to district tax collection capacity (a top-down approach) and mitigating barriers to market vendor tax compliance (a bottom-up approach) affect revenue from daily market fees. A policy report for this project can be found here.

Principal Investigator, Digital Society Project

I am a founding Principal Investigator (with Valeriya Mechkova, Daniel Pemstein, and Steven Wilson) of the Digital Society Project, which aims to provide high-quality, publicly available data describing the intersection between politics and social media. Created using the award-winning V-Dem infrastructure, the DSP cross-national dataset is the product of a global survey of hundreds of country and area experts, covering virtually all countries in the world from 2000 to 2021. See coverage of this dataset in The Washington Post and Taipei Times. The DSP candidate dataset collects data on political candidates from various electoral contexts around the world.

Project Manager of Experiments, Varieties of Democracy Project

As a Project Manager with V-Dem, my role is to conduct experiments that validate and improve the V-Dem data. So far, I have fielded four experiments. The first experiment validates the V-Dem validation procedures by comparing observation rank orderings obtained via the likert questions and measurement model to those obtained through a Bradley-Terry model applied to crowd-sourced and expert-coded rankings of pairs of observations. The second experiment is the execution of anchoring vignettes to account for cross-country differences in scales across expert coders providing data to V-Dem. A third experiment, rolled out in the 2018 V-Dem update, evaluates the extrinsic and intrinsic motivations of expert coders. The fourth experiment examines the conditions under which crowd-sourced data can substitute for expert-coded data.┬áI am also one of the co-authors on a book published by Cambridge University Press about the V-Dem project. I am co-PI (with Valeriya Mechkova) on two research projects commissioned by USAID. The first is overseen by NORC at the University of Chicago. See a summary of the work completed in the first phase of this project (second phase underway) here. The second is managed by the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS). CEPPS is the prime recipient of USAID’s Democratic Elections and Political Processes Leader with Associates Award. We are one of four Senior Technical Partners on this award. See more about our role and planned work here.

 

If you are interested in working as a Research Assistant on my research projects, please send a CV and cover letter via email. Please be sure you discuss particular research skills and past research experience that you have. If you are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill, please send me an email and find general information about the program and application process here. If you are interested in pursuing a M.A. in Global Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, please send me an email and find general information about the program and application process here.