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

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.  


Research Fellows

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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.





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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Richard Morgan

Richard is about to finish his PhD in political science at Emory University (USA) with a focus on state power and popular support in insurgencies. Rich’s technical skills and the proposals he brings are outstanding and fits perfect with the type of need the new FASDEM-project is in need of: causal inference techniques and experience with using these methods trained by Adam at Emory, as well as forecasting, machine learning, Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo procedures and Bayesian nonlinear dynamic systems. His experience with item-count, endorsement, and conjoint survey experiments will also supplement V-Dem’s current expertise on the experiment-agenda funded under the Wallenberg Academy Fellowship. Finally, Rich’s excellent research on conflicts and insurgencies is a great asset in the current efforts  to build a collaboration with the Uppsala Conflict Database project, something which he has confirmed an interest in supporting.



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.



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. This project includes the creation of a measure of party branding using LDA topic modeling on party manifestos for 16 countries in Europe.

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, Laura joined the team to work on the FASDEM project, focusing on understanding the dynamic dependencies between democratic institutions over time.





FASDEM Research Assistant

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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. 




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. 




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.



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. All her work is top-rated and situated thematically at the heart of the V-Dem research program. 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. 



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

University of Gothenburg

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.