©2019 by Rachael McLellan. Proudly created with Wix.com

About Me

I am a postdoctoral research associate in the Politics Department at Princeton University. 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 dissertation asks how local capacity affects electoral strategies and regime durability in electoral autocracies. I use administrative data, interviews, focus groups and surveys to understand how local capacity affects incumbent and opposition strategy and how opposition control of local capacity changes patterns of distribution, repression and competition.

I won the American Political Science Association (Comparative Democratization Section) Fieldwork Prize in 2019. In 2018, I won the George Kateb Prize for Best Preceptor (Teaching Assistant). My work on repression has been featured in The Washington Post. 


I am a Dean's Completion/PGRA Fellow for the 2019/20 academic year. I will defend my dissertation in January 2020 then continue at Princeton as a Postgraduate Research Associate until Summer 2020. I was a University Fellow in the Department of Politics from 2014-2019. I am an affiliate of the Research Program in Political Economy and a Graduate Fellow in the Program for Quantitative and Analytical Political Science (Q-APS), all at Princeton. 

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. 

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