Dr. Jessica Gottlieb joined the Bush School after earning her PhD in political science at Stanford University. She also holds a master’s degree in economics from Stanford University. She previously studied at Yale University, receiving a dual BA degree cum laude in political science and international studies in 2004. While at Stanford, Gottlieb received the Stanford Interdisciplinary Fellowship and was a pre-doctoral fellow at the Center for Democracy Development and the Rule of Law.
Her research focuses on the political economy of development and, in particular, constraints to government accountability in new democracies. Her work falls into three themes: information asymmetries and voter coordination, informal institutions and clientelism, and the political implications of unequal gender norms. Much of her research has been in sub-Saharan Africa, where she has conducted field experiments, behavioral games, and surveys. She has published articles in the American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, British Journal of Political Science, and World Development.
Gottlieb’s dissertation research was a study in Mali of why free and fair elections failed to generate government accountability in a new democracy. Subsequently, Gottlieb worked on projects in Senegal examining the role of political intermediaries in influencing voter behavior and how voter coordination determines public good distribution by parties. With several co-PIs and as part of EGAP’s Metaketa project, she led a large-scale field experiment around the 2015 elections in Benin to examine which types of information and which delivery mechanisms have the greatest impact on electoral accountability. She is presently returning to work in Mali with a project on how local electoral competition and volatility mediates public goods provision. Her work has also taken her to Guinea, Liberia, and the West Bank, where she trained and recruited educators and other professionals and managed survey teams. Prior to her doctoral studies, Gottlieb worked at the Center for Global Development on a project encouraging donors, country governments, and multilateral organizations to better learn what works in development through improved impact evaluation.
Gottlieb has taught courses in the political economy of development in Africa, field research methods, and political and economic institutions; she also led capstone projects to Benin and Qatar.