Director, Deputy Director


Staffan I. Lindberg


Professor, Dept. of Political Science, U of Gothenburg
Principal Investigator, Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem)
Wallenberg Academy Fellow
Member, Young Academy of Sweden
Member, Board of U of Gothenburg


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Anna Lührmann

Deputy Director

Anna is the Deputy Director of the V-Dem Institute and Assistant Professor at the University of Gothenburg. Prior to turning to academia, Anna was an MP in the German National Parliament (Bundestag, 2002- 2009) and worked in Sudan for two years. She received her PhD in 2015 from Humboldt University (Berlin) and served as a consultant for UNDP, the World Bank and others. Her research has been published among others in Electoral Studies, International Political Science Review and the Journal of Democracy. Her research interests include autocratization, autocracy, democracy aid and elections. Furthermore, she contributes to the Failing and Successful Sequences of Democratization (FASDEM) project.  


Assistant Professor

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Seraphine F. Maerz

Seraphine is Assistant Professor at the V-Dem Institute/University of Gothenburg. She received her PhD in Political Science from the Central European University in December 2017, with a focus on the many faces of authoritarian persistence. Her current research concentrates on the rhetoric and language used by (authoritarian) political leaders. Seraphine works with quantitative and qualitative methods and has spent several months of fieldwork in Central Asia. Her research has been published among others in Government and Opposition, Journal of Political Ideologies and Quality and Quantity. Seraphine’s expertise in quantitative text analysis, webscraping, fuzzy-set QCA and other computational methods contributes to further developing the new methods to address the core issues in the EDSA project. 





Research Fellows


Juraj Medzihorsky

Juraj is a postdoctoral fellow at Central European University, where he also received his PhD in 2015, with a focus on substantive inferences in comparative politics with categorical data analysis methods that correspond closely to theories. His expertise in Bayesian modeling of mixture models where he is the author of several R packages, some written in pistar for general application to comparative politics, is quite unique and highly relevant for rater aggregation of the type we do in V-Dem, as well as for differential item functioning diagnostics of the kind we have yet to explore. Importantly, he is also very experienced with Bayesian inference models, modeling floor and ceiling associations and exploring this from the perspective of stochastic dominance. This area is highly and directly relevant to solving the key methodological challenges in the FASDEM-project.



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Amanda Edgell

Amanda B. Edgell is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Alabama and a Research Associate at the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute. Her research focuses on political institutions in diverse settings, as well as, international norms, foreign aid, and gender politics. She is a Principal Investigator for the Pandemic Backsliding Project. Dr. Edgell has conducted fieldwork in D.R. Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, and Uganda. Her work has appeared in the European Journal of Political Research, Democratization, and the African Studies Review. Dr. Edgell received a PhD in Political Science at the University of Florida in May 2019 and also hold a Master’s in International Affairs from Texas A&M University (2011) and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Appalachian State University (2008).


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Vanessa Boese

Vanessa is a post-doctoral researcher at the Varieties of Democracy Institute at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. She obtained her PhD in economics summer 2019 at Humbolt-Universität zu Berlin. Her thesis "Why Democracy Matters: An Economic Perspective" covers how to (not) measure democracy in quantitative studies; macro-economic models of trade, development, democracy and peace, as well as panel data methods. Three of her articles are published in peer-reviewed journals, such as the Economics of Peace and Security Journal or International Area Studies Review.


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Sebastian Hellmeier

Sebastian Hellmeier is a post-doctoral researcher at the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute at the University of Gothenburg. Before joining V-Dem, he was a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Konstanz (Germany) where he was working on the Mass Mobilization in Autocracies Database (MMAD). His research interests include political mobilization and protest, as well as the comparison of non-democratic regimes using quantitative methods. Findings from his research have been published in Comparative Political Studies and Political Communication. He is going to contribute to the Varieties of Autocracy (V-Aut) project led by Anna Lührmann.


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Jean Lachapelle

Jean's research examines the causes of state violence in authoritarian regimes. His first book project theorizes autocrats' decision to use repression, based on fieldwork in Egypt and novel event data. More broadly, he is interested in issues of repression, military coups, revolutions, and the relationship between violence and political order, with a regional focus on the Middle East and North Africa.



Research Assistants

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Sandra Grahn

Research Assistant

Sandra is a Research Assistant at the FASDEM project. Before receiving her MA in Political Science from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, she studied at the American University (Washington DC). Her MA thesis explored the relationship between anti-system civil society organizations and democracy levels, in states gaining independence. 


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Palina Kolvani

Research Assistant

Palina works with the Pandemic Backsliding project. She holds an MA in Political Science from the University of Gothenburg. Her research interests include the determinants of democratization and autocratization, and particularly the role of the quality of government.


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Ana Good God 

Research Assistant

Ana is a Research Assistant with the Pandemic Backsliding project. She is a master's student in International Administration and Global Governance at the University of Gothenburg and holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations from the Federal University of Minas Gerais. Her main research interests include democracy, global governance, and Latin American studies. 


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Martin Lundstedt 

Research Assistant

Martin works with the Pandemic Backsliding Project. He received both his Bachelor's and Master’s degrees in Political Science from the University of Gothenburg. In his MA thesis, he focuses on the relationship between electoral management bodies and clientelism.


Ana Laura Ferrari 


Ana is a master's student in Political Science at the University of Sao Paulo (DCP-USP). She has a B.A. in Public Administration from Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), with a minor in International Relations. Her research interests are populism, democratic backsliding, the crisis of democracy, and autocratization. 




PhD students, University of Gothenburg

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Valeriya Mechkova

Doctoral Research Assistant

Valeriya is a PhD candidate at the Department of Political Science as part of the V-Dem project. She joined the V-Dem Institute in May 2013 and worked as analyst and data operations manager until August 2016. She holds a master degree in International Administration and Global Governance from the University of Gothenburg.

Her research interests include accountability building; sequence analysis; democracy, governance and human development; democracy and inequality. Valeriya is actively involved in the V-Dem policy and outreach work. In particular, she is engaged in the V-Dem input to the Post-2015 development agenda and measurement of Sustainable Development Goal 16, as well as organizing and conducting capacity building trainings.



Yaman Berker Kavasoglu

Doctoral Research Assistant

Berker is a PhD student at the Department of Political Science since the fall of 2017. He holds a MA degree in Political Science from University of Essex (2015) and Central European University (2017). Berker studies political parties and party systems with a special focus on the variation in the level of institutionalization across new democracies. 




Marcus Tannenberg

Doctoral Research Assistant

Marcus is a PhD student at the Department of Political Science and the V-Dem institute. He holds a MA in International Administration and Global Governance from the University of Gothenburg. His research interests include the political economy of development and institutional transitions. 



Oskar Rydén

Doctoral Research Assistant

Oskar is currently an Associate Researcher in the Department of Political Science, working on projects that are part of a collaboration between the Centre for Collective Action Research (CeCAR) and the V-Dem Institute. His research interests include political consequences to and effects of natural disasters, environmental politics and institutional theory. Other interests also include democracy, corruption, quantitative methodology and R programming. From September 2019, Oskar will start his PhD studies in the Department of Political Science and will continue to be associated with both the CeCAR and the V-Dem Institute.


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Adea Gafuri

Doctoral Research Assistant

Adea Gafuri is a PhD student at the Department of Political Science at Gothenburg University. She holds a Master degree in Political Science from Sabanci University. Her main research interests include democratization, democracy aid, illiberal regimes, European studies, and political methodology.




Research Associates (previously Post-Docs)




Yi-ting Wang

National Cheng Kung University

Yi-ting Wang is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan. Prior to joining NCKU, Yi-ting was a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the V-Dem Institute.

As part of the measurement model team, she was working on developing statistical models that aggregate ordinal ratings provided by country experts to continuous country-level estimates for various indicators. Yi-ting is also working on a number of research projects involving V-Dem data. Yi-ting received her PhD in Political Science from Duke University (2013). Her research interests include party politics, legislative
institutions, democratization, and quantitative methodology.



Eitan Tzelgov

University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich

As a part of the measurement model team in the V-Dem Institute, he was in charge of developing statistical models that convert multiple ordinal rankings given by country experts on various aspects of democracy into one, continuous scale. 

Eitan received his PhD in Comparative Politics and Quantitative Methodology at Pennsylvania State University (2013). His research interests are in legislative and party politics, as well as quantitative methodology.



Constanza Sanhueza Petrarca

WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Constanza is a Research Fellow at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center working on the project “Political Legitimacy in Times of Crisis” (PolLegKris) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. 

Since August 2016, she has served as a Research Fellow with the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg and, since 2017, as an Associate Editor of Representation, a Journal of Representative Democracy.

Constanza has conducted research in the field of political and social research. Among other things, she has written on the roles of electoral systems, party system characteristics, elections, ethnic and religious fractionalization and women’s inclusion on democratic developments.

For her thesis “Voters, Parties and Representation in European Multicultural Democracies” at the University of Mannheim she created an original dataset including more than 300,000 parliamentary questions.



Sirianne Dahlum

Prio, Norway

Sirianne has a PhD in political science from University of Oslo with a focus on socio-economic and educational explanations to autocratic breakdown and democratization. She has very strong technical skills in the area time-series, cross-sectional analysis. Sirianne has ben involved with V-Dem indirectly as research assistant and co-authored with Carl Henrik Knutsen, knows the project well and her suggested research project on gender and democratization is an important area to expand on. She also has a background as a journalist, and working for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and an interest to invest part of her time in V-Dem’s outreach activities. 



Laura Maxwell

Laura's research focuses on political parties and elections with an emphasis on European states. Her dissertation looks at how and why political parties across Europe strategically create brands for themselves through their political messaging. 

Aside from her dissertation, Laura has conducted research on mass ideology in Europe, electoral fraud in Uganda, pre-electoral coalition formation, and the determinants of roll call votes in parliaments in Europe. She relies on the use of Item Response Theory and Bayesian Statistics, among other quantitative methods to conduct her research.

At V-Dem, Lauraworked for the FASDEM project, focusing on understanding the dynamic dependencies between democratic institutions over time.


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Richard Morgan

Richard completed his PhD from Emory University (USA) with a focus on International Relations and Research Methods. He serves as the Project Manager for the V-Forecast project, V-Dem's forecasting intuitive. He currently works as a Social Science Analyst of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, where is developing risk forecast models. 



Research Associates



Aksel Sundström

University of Gothenburg

Aksel works as a postdoctoral researcher in a VR-funded project together with Sverker C. Jagers (PI) and Martin Sjöstedt, that will examine corruption in transnational reserves - protected areas in sub-Saharan Africa, governed by more than one country.

Sundström's PhD thesis (2015) examines corruption in government authorities that enforce environmental regulations. It studies the impact from corruption on the enforcement of such rules, explores the role of violence as sustaining corruption and investigates the challenge of reducing bribery through bureaucratic reforms. 


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Carolien van Ham

UNSW Australia

Carolien van Ham is a Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the University of New South Wales and an ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award recipient (2015-2017). Prior to coming to UNSW, Dr. van Ham worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Twente for a Netherlands Royal Academy of Sciences research project on democratic legitimacy, and as a research fellow at the Electoral Integrity Project and the Varieties of Democracy Project. Dr. van Ham received her PhD from the European University Institute in 2012.

Her research focuses on democratization and authoritarianism, election integrity, and political representation and legitimacy. 



Abdalhadi Alijla

Abdalhadi  Alijla is a Palestinian- Swedish academic and writer. Abdalhadi is the V-Dem Regional Manager for Gulf countries, as well as being researcher associate on MENA studies. He has a PhD in political studies from state university of Milan. He holds a M.A. degree in Public Policy and Governance from Zeppelin University- Friedrichshafen, Germany.

During his studies, Abdalhadi was awarded a two years DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship. He is DAAD fellow of Public Policy and Good Governance, and a fellow of Royal Society of Art and Science, UK.  He worked as a sessional lecturer at Alazhar University- Gaza. Abdalhadi was a fellow of Soliya network for dialogue and selected as a junior scientist at the 3oth Alternative Noble Prize by Right Livelihood College.

His main research interests are divided societies, democracy and democratization, social capital, Middle East studies, comparative politics and philosophy of religions





Marina Povitkina

University of Gothenburg

Marina Povitkina is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Collective Action Research at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her research interests include comparative environmental politics, collective action, corruption, democratization, political organization of small island states and quantitative methodology.

At the V-Dem institute, Marina helped with index generation, data cleaning and has continuously been working on a number of research projects involving V-Dem data. In particular, in her dissertation "Necessary but not Sustainable? The Limits of Democracy is Achieving Environmental Sustainability" Marina used  V-Dem data to investigate how democratic governments achieve environmental sustainability goals depending on their levels of corruption. Marina received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Gothenburg (2018). 



Petrus Sundin

Lund University

Petrus holds a MA in political science and a BA in international relations from the university of Gothenburg. He is currently a PhD candidate in at the University of Gothenburg. His research interests include institutional transitions, economic growth, election law, and 19th century American politics.


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Matthew Wilson

Matthew's research focuses on the timing and success of political institutions in non-democracies.  His methodological focus includes time-series and models of sequencing, influenced in part by sequence analysis and methods outside of political science.  Matthew received his PhD in Political Science from Pennsylvania State University in 2015 and comes to V-Dem as an Assistant Professor at West Virginia University.  At V-Dem, Matthew is developing methods for characterizing and comparing sequences of political development, one of the central themes of the FASDEM project.