Brigitte Zimmerman


I am a scholar of comparative politics, focusing on the political economy of development. My research agenda examines the relationship between citizens and political officials, with a particular emphasis on accountability in consolidating democracies. My dissertation analyzed the strategic responses of political officials to anti-corruption interventions, concluding that politicians engage in predictable corruption substitution. To study this topic, I focused on district government in Malawi, where I conducted a survey experiment on a representative sample of current district officials, held structured interviews with nearly 50 government officials, completed a content analysis of the primary media outlets, executed a survey of citizens across the country, and analyzed observational panel data obtained from the Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau. Current research addresses discrimination in petty corruption, anti-corruption policy, aid politicization, survey research methods, and the ethics of field research. To conduct this research, I partner with government institutions, international organizations, policy makers, and other scholars.

I obtained my PhD in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego in August of 2014. For the 2014-2015 academic year, I was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Project. I joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Policy and Peter Thacher Grauer Fellow in 2015.

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Varieties of Democracy Project (V-Dem)