Rachel M. Gisselquist

Senior Research Fellow

Rachel M. Gisselquist, a political scientist, is a Senior Research Fellow with the United Nations University, World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) and a member of the institute’s Senior Management Team. She works on the politics of the developing world, with particular attention to ethnic politics and inequality between groups, state fragility, governance, and democratization in sub-Saharan Africa.

She currently serves as a focal point for UNU-WIDER’s flagship projects on ‘Inequalities – Measurement, Implications, and Influencing Change’ and ‘Capable States – Building the Foundations for Achieving SDGs’. Under the institute’s previous research programmes, she was a focal point for work on ‘The Politics of Group-Based Inequalities: Measurement, Implications, and Possibilities for Change’ (2014–18) and the Governance and Fragility theme of the Research and Communication on Foreign Aid (ReCom) programme (2011–13).

Her work is published in various journals and edited volumes, including World Development, Journal of Development Studies, Oxford Development Studies, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Social Indicators Research, and International Peacekeeping. She is editor/co-editor of eleven journal special issues and collections (of which three are forthcoming) and co-author of the first two editions of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, which has become a standard reference on governance. Before moving to Helsinki, she spent three years at Harvard University as Research Director, Index of African Governance. She has also spent time at the London School of Economics and with the World Bank. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University.