Ellen Lust


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

About Ellen Lust


Ellen Lust is the Founding Director of the Governance and Local Development Institute at Yale University (est. 2013), at the University of Gothenburg (est. 2015), and Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg. She received her M.A. in Modern Middle East and North African Studies (1993) and PhD in Political Science from the University of Michigan (1997). She was previously a faculty member at Rice University (1997-2000) and Yale University (2000-2015), director of the Center for Middle East Studies at Yale University, and a visiting scholar at the Institute of Graduate Studies (Geneva, Switzerland) and the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at NYU.

Ellen has conducted fieldwork and implemented surveys in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, and Zambia. She has authored numerous books, textbooks, and articles including, most recently, Everyday Choices: The Role of Competing Authorities and Social Institutions in Politics and Development, (Cambridge University Press, 2022). Ellen’s current research examines the role of social institutions and local authorities in governance. She is also leading GLD’s work on the development of a tool to systematically gauge sub-national variations in governance.

She is a co-founder of the Transitional Governance Project, a founding associate editor of Middle East Law and Governance, and has served as an advisor and consultant to organizations including the Carter Center, Freedom House, NDI, UNDEF, UNDP, USAID, and the World Bank. The Carnegie Corporation of New York, the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Swedish Research Council, and the Moulay Hicham/Hicham Alaoui Foundation have supported her work. More at and