My research focuses on the politics of service delivery and public goods provision in developing countries.


Civil society, NGOs and governments

My interests engage an extensive and contradictory literature as to whether NGOs are promoting more representative, accountable governments. To investigate the impact of NGOs, I explore how interactions with NGOs shape citizens’ attitudes toward government and their behavior in seeking support from government. I also investigate interactions between governments and NGOs to understand the political and contextual factors that can lead to NGO-government collaboration and conflict. Related publications: 

Boulding, Carew and Jami Nelson-Nuñez. 2014. Civil Society and Support for the Political System in Times of Crisis,” Latin American Research Review.  Vol. 49 (1), 128-154.

Nelson-Nuñez, Jami and Kate Cartwright. 2018. “Getting Along or Going Alone: Understanding Collaboration Between Local Governments and NGOs in Bolivia.” Latin American Politics and Society. Vol. 60(1), 76-101. 

Nelson-Nuñez, Jami. “Substitution or Facilitation: Service-Delivery NGOs and Political Engagement in the Peruvian Amazon.” Forthcoming in Comparative Political Studies.

Services to address poverty: water, sanitation, and energy provision

In addition to my research on actors in public goods provision, I also study service provision in sectors that are critical in addressing poverty, such as water, sanitation and energy. These services are easiest to provide in cities and in contexts of stability and a moderate level of development or wealth. I look at service provision in contexts where progress lags: rural areas, where there are few economies of scale and often weak political incentives for ongoing services; informal peri-urban communities where formal incorporation into city zoning is politically contentious; and conflict-affected areas where both governments and markets are weakened by threats to stability. Related publications: 

Nelson-Nuñez, Jami and Elise Pizzi. 2018. “Governance and Water Progress for the Rural Poor.” Forthcoming at Global Governance, Vol. 24 (4).

Gender inequality and development

The disparities and challenges women face around the world is a social justice issue about which I am passionate. I study variation in women’s participation in areas critical for development, from participating in household decisions on spending to job opportunities in depressed markets. Related publications: 

Nelson-Nuñez, Jami and Christopher Cyr. 2019. “Women’s Work after the War: Evidence from a Firm-Level Dataset in Somaliland.” Forthcoming at Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society.

Htun, Mala, Francesca Jensenius and Jami Nelson-Nuñez. “Gender-Discriminatory Laws and Women's Economic Agency.” Forthcoming at Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society.