Kristen Kao is a Docent (Associate Professor) at the Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg. Having received her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), she is an expert in survey methodology and experimental design in the Middle East and African contexts. 

Kristen’s most recently funded projects include a multi-method, comparative study of the integration of Syrian migrants into Jordan, Turkey, the US, and Sweden; 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 research 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 accepted or published work on post-conflict retribution versus reconciliation, ethnic identity, clientelism, non-state authorities, and gender politics in the American Journal of Political Science,  American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, World Development, Comparative Politics, Political Research Quarterly, American Journal of Comparative Law, Mediterranean Politics, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties, 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, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (Riksbankens Jubilieumsfond), the Social Science Research Council, and APSA among others. She has also been a Fulbright Scholar in Egypt.

In her free time Kristen enjoys playing competitive beach volleyball, cooking (and eating) new types of food, and traveling to new places. 



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Sprängkullsgatan 19
Department of Political Science
University of Gothenburg
City, Gothenburg 405 30

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