I work in the fields of comparative politics and development with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and processes of democratization. My research addresses a range of questions such as whether populism is an effective strategy of political mobilization, how paying tax changes citizens’ attitudes towards democracy and corruption, and the conditions under which ruling parties lose power.


In 2008, my doctoral thesis, The Rise and Fall of Civil Authoritarianism in Africa, won the Arthur McDougall Dissertation Prize of the Political Studies Association of the UK for the best dissertation on elections, electoral systems or representation. One of my recent articles, Ethnopopulism in Africa: Opposition Mobilization in Diverse and Unequal Societies [with Miles Larmer] won the Frank Cass Award for the Best Article Published in Democratization (2015).

In addition to these articles, I have published a number of edited collections including Our Turn To Eat: Kenyan Politics Since 1950 (2010), The Handbook of African Politics (2013), and African Politics: Major Works (2016). My first monograph, Democracy in Africa: Successes, Failures and the Struggle for Political Reform was published in March 2015 by Cambridge University Press. A second monograph, How to Rig An Election, is currently under contract with Yale, while a further edited collection on the importance of formal political institutions in Africa is under contract at CUP.

To date, I have raised over £2 million in research funding for a range of projects including two current ESRC funded studies of the impact of elections in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda and presidentialism in Africa, Latin America, and Post-communist Europe. At the same time, I run a collaborative research programme with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy on the Political Economy of Democracy Promotion and am part of the Media, Conflict and Democratization research consortium that is funded by the European Union. For more information see Research.

To download my curriculum vitae, click here.