Kristen Kao


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

About Kristen Kao

Kristen Kao received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is a Docent (Associate Professor) at the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg. Kristen is an expert in survey methodology and experimental design in the Middle East and African contexts.

Her most recently funded projects include a multi-method, comparative study of the integration of Syrian migrants into Jordan, Turkey, Sweden, and the United States over 7 years; a study on the drivers of forgiveness versus revenge among diverse groups in Iraq employing 3 large-N surveys and experiments; and surveys in East Africa examining the interaction between social institutions and local governance across issues of authority and legitimacy, vote buying and clientelism, as well as stereotypes and inequalities. You can find out more about her work on her website at

She has published work on conflict, ethnic politics, non-state authorities, and forced migration in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, the American Journal of Comparative Law, World Development, Mediterranean Politics, the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties, Survey Practice, and the Oxford Handbook of Politics in Muslim Societies, among others. Since 2006, she has been conducting studies in countries as varied as Jordan, Syria, Kuwait, Lebanon, Tunisia, Oman, Iraq, Malawi, Kenya, Zambia, Turkey, and Egypt. She has served as an advisor or consultant to the Carter Center, the National Democratic Institute, and the World Bank, and is a Jordan country expert for the Freedom House and the Varieties of Democracy Institute. In 2019, her research on post-conflict reconciliation in Iraq received the Franklin L. Burdette Pi Sigma Alpha award for the best paper presented at the American Political Science Association (APSA) annual meeting. Her research has been funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Swedish Research Council, Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (Riksbankens Jubilieumsfond), the Social Science Research Council, and APSA, among others. She has also been a Fulbright Scholar in Egypt.

In her free time Kristen enjoys playing competitive beach volleyball, cooking (and eating) new types of food, and learning languages.