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Political Economy, Governance and Institutions

The capacity of the state to deliver public goods and services demanded by an electorate is key to the democratic process. Important issues in Pakistan, such as weak fiscal capacity, lack of public action or escalating conflict are mediated through political institutions, interests, processes and structures. This research cluster engages with questions regarding how these issues interact with politics. In addition to mapping out challenges, solutions for policy reform are identified.

Projects and Papers

Election 2018: Political Attitudes Survey
Research Project | Principal Investigators: Ali Cheema and Asad Liaqat (Harvard University)
This project surveys voter attitudes regarding the 2018 Election. It provides insight into how voters perceive the current government, the important issues, their own situation and the leading candidates.
See publications

Electricity Policy and Governance
Research Paper | Principal Investigators: Anjum NasimFaisal Bari and Umbreen Fatima
This project addresses the major issues contributing to Pakistan’s electricity crisis: circular debt and underinvestment in the electricity sector, contention between the federal and provincial governments over financing and the weak governance structure of the electricity sector.
See publications

Dynastic Politics and Underdevelopment
Research Project | Principal Investigators: Ali CheemaFarooq Naseer and Hassan Javid
While, dynastic politics is often cited as a driver of underdevelopment, there is little evidence to back that claim. This projects studies the relationship between political dynasties and underdevelopment in Pakistan through rigorous data collection dynastic dominance and political competition. It identifies both facts and popular myths surrounding political dynasties, as well what the implications are for making politics more conducive for development.
See publications

Trust in State Authority and Non-State Actors
Research Paper | Principal Investigators: Ali Cheema, Asim I. Khwaja, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson
Perhaps the most important factor enabling a well-functioning state is a citizenry’s trust in that state. When there is a lack of trust, citizens are unwilling to pay taxes to authorities they perceive as corrupt, thus limiting the ability of the state to deliver services. This project examines trust in state actors in Pakistan’s context. Specifically, it looks at how trust affects the actions of citizens, and whether that trust is determined by the actual or perceived behaviour of the state. See project details

Crime, Policing and State Building
Research Project | Principal Investigators: Ali CheemaSohail Khan, Jacob N. Shapiro, Zulfiqar Hameed and Shan A. Rana
This research provides evidence to explain recent crime trends in Punjab. It correlates urban population densities to the crime rate and identifies the socioeconomic factors that have been driving crime. Based on this evidence, it lays out strategies to support police investigations, the development of crime mapping tools, crime reduction strategies and reforms in the criminal justice system.
See project details