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Aksel Sundström


Department of Political
Visiting address
Sprängkullsgatan 19
41123 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 711
40530 Göteborg

About Aksel Sundström

Associate professor (docent) and senior lecturer (with tenure).

Sundström has two major research interests; 1) the relationship between corruption and effective environmental politics, especially in low-income countries, and 2) the study of political representation, focusing on the absence of women and youth in political institutions (such as parliaments, cabinets, and local councils).

Besides a focus on comparative politics, he has wide experience of field research work in South Africa. His dissertation studied the problem of local bribery among officials in natural resource governance (example of article from the PhD thesis in the journals Global Environmental Change and Public Administration).

Leads a project that investigates to what extent the establishment of protected areas in African countries has effects on local corruption. Also works with a project studying nature reserves that extend across national borders. He has received funding from the Swedish Research Council for four projects, both as main applicant and co-applicant.

Conducted a year-long stay in 2017-2018 as a Democracy Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, supported by the SRC postdoc program.

Sundström is working on a book project titled Youth without representation, which examines young adults’ presence as candidates, legislators and ministers around the world (with Daniel Stockemer).

He is responsible for developing the Quality of Government datasets and overseeing the work of the QoG data team.

His research has been published in a range of outlets, including, European Journal of Political Research, Governance, Party Politics and Public Administration (see Google Scholar).

For an example of work in progress, see paper here on public support for female leaders across Africa.


PhD, Political Science, University of Gothenburg, 2015.

Visiting scholar at the University of Michigan, Spring 2015. Courses during PhD-program at universities in Oxford, Michigan, Keele, Ljubljana and Vienna. Spent one semester as an undergraduate student at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.


Nominated by University of Gothenburg to the 2019 Pro Futura program – Riksbankens Jubileumsfond’s effort to promote cutting-edge research in humanities and social sciences.

Shared third-prize in the essay competetion Intergenerational Justice Prize 2018 (with Daniel Stockemer).

Nominated to Elsevier's Atlas award for article in World Development (Sundström et al. 2017), August 2017.

Young sustainability talent 2016, a recognition given to 33 persons in Sweden by the magazine Aktuell Hållbarhet.

The 2016 Eva Selin Lindgren memorial scholarship (given annualy to one researcher at Chalmers or GU).

Received the "best paper" prize at the Swedish Political Science Association’s meeting 2014.


Work experience as a journalist, foreign affairs reporting (example here).