Current Projects

“Non-State Provision and the Quality of Social Service Delivery in the Middle East”

In many developing countries, non-state organizations are important providers of basic social services and are on the rise in the context of declining public welfare functions. Non-state providers are diverse: They include for-profit and not-for-profit groups; local, national and international actors; formal and informal organizations; and groups affiliated with different political, ethnic, religious and/or regional movements. What are the implications of non-state provision for well-being and state-society relations in the communities where such providers operate? Does the provision of health care by non-state actors affect the political behavior of citizens? Focusing on primary health care, this project examines these questions in Middle Eastern countries with distinct types of health systems. What types of providers offer high quality services and why? To what degree does the sociopolitical context in which mission-driven organizations operate affect their welfare performance?

The project has been launched in Lebanon and includes multiple forms of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. The first type of data aims to measure the quality of health care and relevant covariates through surveys with chief medical officers, the administration of medical vignettes, clinical observations and patient exit interviews at the facility level. This component of the research builds on and adapts the methodology of the Medical Advice Quality and Availability in Rural India (MAQARI) Project, initiated by Jishnu Das and his collaborators at the World Bank. The second form of data collection entails household surveys in the catchment areas of the selected facilities to assess perceptions of and experiences with diverse types of local providers as well as basic social and demographic data. The third form of data collection involves in-depth interviews with elite informants in relevant government and non-governmental organizations. Finally, interviews with non-elites are also vital to the project both to aid in the design of valid survey instruments and to interpret the findings of the survey data. The pilot research for this project was funded by a grant from the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs at Brown University.

Works in Progress

  • “Political Context, Organizational Mission and the Quality of Social Services: Insights from the Health Sector in Lebanon.” Manuscript under review. (With Aytuğ Şaşmaz)
  • “Popular Grievances in the Arab Region: Evaluating Explanations for Discontent in the Lead-Up to the Uprisings.” Manuscript under review. (With Nisreen Salti)
  • “Resource Wealth, Political Settlements and the Rule of Law in the Middle East.” Manuscript in progress. (With Ishac Diwan)
  • “The Value of Positive Deviant Cases for Development Policy.” Manuscript in progress.
  • “Organizational Mission, Social Context, and the Quality of Service Delivery: Identity Politics and Health in Lebanon.” Research in progress. (With Lara Jirmanus, Ellen Lust, Aytuğ Şaşmaz and Pierre Zalloua)
  • “Diversity and Accountability: Intergroup Relations and Public Goods Provision in Lebanon.” Research in progress. (With David Romney)
  • “Community Participation and the Performance of Primary Health Care Providers in Tunisia: Grassroots and Elite Mechanisms of Accountability.” Research in progress. (With Ellen Lust, Carmel Salhi and Margaret Kruk)
  • “The Material and Non-Material Foundations of Political Support: Clientelism, Threat Perceptions and Programmatic Appeal in Lebanese Elections.” Research in progress. (With Sami Atallah and Dominika Kruszewska)
  • “Patterns of State-Mobilized Demonstrations in the Middle East.” Research in progress. (With Ashley Anderson)
  • “The Sociopolitical Determinants of Quality in the Lebanese Primary Health Sector.” Manuscript in progress. (With Carmel Salhi)
  • “The Effects of Power-Sharing on Public Goods Provision.” Research in progress. (With Pellumb Kelmendi and Edmund Malesky)
  • “The Colonial Roots of Institutional Development in the Middle East.” Research in progress. (With Gabriel Koehler-Derrick)
  • “The Historical Roots of Economic and Social Development in the Middle East.” Research in progress.
  • “Can Material Benefits Change Minds? Experimental Evidence on the Efficacy of Clientelistic and Programmatic Appeals in Promoting Pluralism in Lebanon.” Research in progress. (With Amaney Jamal, Tarek Masoud and Zeina Muhanna)

For more information about my research, see my Publications.

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