River Tay from Dundee

McManus Galleries, Dundee

Glen Shiel

River Tay from Dundee

About Me

I am a Fellow in Political Science and Public Policy at the London School of Economics. Until recently I was a postdoctoral research associate in the Politics Department at Princeton University, where I got my PhD in January 2020. I work on projects on opposition and regime strategy, local politics and electoral politics in electoral autocracies. All my work takes a mixed methods approach. I use qualitative and quantitative methods to understand political processes and incentives which are difficult to identify using a single methodological approach.  My work is forthcoming at Perspectives on Politics.

My book project asks how who wins local elections affects the electoral strategies available to ruling and opposition parties and regime durability in electoral autocracies. I use administrative data, interviews, focus groups and surveys to understand how local capacity and control thereof affects autocrat and opposition strategy and how opposition control of local capacity changes patterns of distribution, repression and competition with a focus on Tanzania.

This project has been awarded the American Political Science Association (Comparative Democratization Section) Fieldwork Prize in 2019 and an Honorable Mention for the Ralph Bunche Award for Best Graduate Student Paper from American Political Science Association African Politics Conference Group in 2020. My work on repression from this project has been featured in The Washington Post. 


During my PhD, I was a Dean's Completion/PGRA Fellow for the 2019/20 academic year. I was a University Fellow in the Department of Politics from 2014-2019. I was an affiliate of the Research Program in Political Economy and a Graduate Fellow in the Program for Quantitative and Analytical Political Science (Q-APS), both at Princeton. In 2018, I won the George Kateb Prize for Best Preceptor (Teaching Assistant) for my work teaching Applied Quantitative Methods. 

I am from Dundee, Scotland. Before starting at Princeton, I worked as a researcher for a number of development organizations including Innovations for Poverty Action, the Indigo Trust and the Gatsby Foundation in Tanzania and London. I hold a first class degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Balliol College, Oxford and an MA and a PhD in Politics from Princeton University. During my dissertation research I spent an extensive amount of time living and working in Tanzania. I now live in South East London.