Research Fellows at V-Dem Institute,

University of Gothenburg


Constanza Sanhueza Petrarca

Joining V-Dem in August 2016

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.

Constanza will be joining and coordinating the experiments here at the V-Dem Institute.


Steven Wilson

Joining V-Dem in August 2016

Steven’s dissertation is a large-n study on comparative democratization, arguing that while the Internet has made mass mobilization easier than ever, its spread has also counter-intuitively allowed savvy authoritarian regimes to become more stable than ever.

He has compiled a new and original data set of measures of technical literacy across all states since the year 2000, and used a Bayesian MCMC approach to construct latent measures of population and regime technical literacy for all country-years. 

Steven will be working on redesigning and recoding much of the V-Dem databases, interfaces and related software.


Anna Luhrmann

Anna contributes to V-Dem’s outreach to the policy community and cooperation with partners in the MENA region. She uses V-Dem data for several research projects such as examining the impact of democracy assistance and studying how electoral manipulation affects regime legitimacy. 

Anna received her PhD in Political Sciences from Humboldt University (Berlin) in summer 2015 with wrote a thesis on UN electoral assistance. Her general research interests include democracy assistance and democratization, United Nations, electoral authoritarianism and the MENA region.



Kyle Marquardt

Kyle's main responsibilities regard the measurement model, specifically incorporating coder characteristics and uncertainty into variable estimates. Alongside this primary role, Kyle develops different methods for aggregating indicators into larger composite scores, as well as applying V-Dem data to topics of substantive research.

Kyle received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in summer 2015. His research interests include separatism, identity politics, and the political economy of authoritarianism.  His work focuses on the Eurasian region, and involves both qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis.

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Rachel Sigman

As a V-Dem Fellow, Rachel works on the conceptualization and validation of V-Dem measures, with special attention to the higher- level indices of democracy. She also uses the V-Dem data to examine the effects of political competition and party systems on executive institutions, and the relationship between political regimes and state building more generally.

Rachel received her PhD in comparative politics and public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in August 2015.



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.


Felix Dwinger

Doctoral Research Assistant

Felix is a PhD candidate at the Department of Political Science and the V-Dem institute. He holds an MA in Political Science from Heidelberg University, Germany. Felix also worked as research assistant at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research, which is located at the University of Mannheim, Germany, from September, 2015 until August, 2016. He was involved in the European Election Studies, particularly the Euromanifesto Project.

His research interests primarily include comparative political institutions, comparative democratization, and comparative nondemocratic politics.


Marcus Tannenberg

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.


Petrus Sundin

Doctoral Research Assistant

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.




Marina Povitkina

Doctoral Research Assistant

Marina is a PhD student at the Department of Political Science and Quality of Government institute. Her research interests are in comparative environmental politics and quantitative 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 has been 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.

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Brigitte Zimmerman

Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


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.




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.