Kristen Kao is a Senior Research Fellow with the Program on Governance and Local Development (GLD) at the University of Gothenburg. She holds a PhD and M.A. in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles and is an expert in survey methodology and experimental design in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa contexts.
Her most recently funded projects include a multi-method, comparative study of the integration of Syrian migrants into Jordan, Turkey, and Sweden over 6 years; a study on the drivers of forgiveness versus revenge among diverse groups in Iraq employing 3 large-N surveys and experiments; and surveys in East Africa examining the interaction between social institutions and local governance across issues of authority and legitimacy, vote buying and clientelism, as well as stereotypes and inequalities.
In 2019, her work on post-conflict reconciliation in Iraq received the Franklin L. Burdette Pi Sigma Alpha award for the best paper presented at the American Political Science Association (APSA) annual meeting, the largest annual gathering of political scientists in the world. She has published work on ethnic clientelism, non-state authorities, and electoral institutions in Comparative Politics, World Development, Mediterranean Politics, Survey Practice, the Oxford Handbook of Politics in Muslim Societies, The Washington Post, and Carnegie’s Sada, among others. Her research has received funding from the US National Science Foundation, the Swedish Research Council, Riksbanken Jubilieumsfond, the Social Science Research Council, and APSA among others. She is also a 2007 Fulbright Scholar.
In her free time Kristen enjoys playing competitive beach volleyball, cooking (and eating) new types of food, learning languages, and traveling.