Winner of the QoG Best Paper Award 2022


The Quality of Government (QoG) Institute´s Best Paper Award is an annual prize awarded to a paper on a Quality of Government related topic, demonstrating outstanding research based on its theoretical and empirical contributions.

We are very happy to announce that the 2022 Quality of Government Best Paper Award goes to Gustav Agneman, Kasper Brandt, Christoffer Cappelen, and David Sjöberg, for the paper “The Uneven Reach of the State: A Novel Approach to Mapping Local State Presence.


The paper offers an innovative and fine-grained measure of state reach at the local level, an endeavor which will increase the validity and viability of research on the determinants and effects of state presence in both scholarly and policy research moving forward.

The paper is theoretically rich and synthesizes survey data with satellite imaging, and uses machine learning to develop measures of predicted state presence in Sub-Saharan Africa. The authors then validate the measure through vaccination rates and census accuracy, and go on to show that state presence predicts the likelihood that oil extraction leads to violent local conflicts. The paper provides a clear and comprehensive description of the method, which will allow replication to create similar data for other geographic regions. In sum, the paper greatly improves on existing approaches to measuring state reach, and thereby paves the way for more rigorous investigations of the sources of state density as well as its implications for a range of societal outcomes.

The Committee Members:

Jana Schwenk (PhD Candidate), Marcia Grimes (Associate Professor), Rasmus Broms (Associate Professor), Georgios Xezonakis (Associate Professor)