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 is currently a board member of Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP).
Her research focuses on the political economy of development and, in particular, constraints to government accountability in new democracies. Dr. Gottlieb’s current work focuses on weak state capacity and challenges to formalizing the relationship between the citizen and the state. Her prior 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 Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, Science Advances, and World Development, among others.
Dr. Gottlieb has participated in two of EGAP’s Metaketa initiatives on 1) information and accountability and 2) taxation. These initiatives aim to mitigate the external validity problem inherent in field experiments by coordinating similar studies across country contexts. Her projects involved a voter information experiment in Benin and a formalization experiment in Lagos, Nigeria. She also coordinates the Democratic Erosion Event Dataset as part of the Democratic Erosion multi-university consortium that seeks to study and teach about how democracies are backsliding across the world. As part of this collaborative, she is also involved in a multicampus study of a depolarization intervention in the U.S.
Dr. Gottlieb has taught courses on the political economy of development in Africa, field research methods, and political and economic institutions and has taken students to Senegal and Benin. She has also led capstone projects with clients such as the U.S. State Department and USAID. Prior to her doctoral studies, she 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.