Photo of Shandana Mohmand

Shandana Khan Mohmand - Research Fellow

Governance; Conflict and Violence
T: +44 (0)1273 915720


Erin Lewis

Shandana Khan Mohmand is a Research Fellow with a PhD in Development Studies. Her research is interdisciplinary and comparative, and she has conducted original research in a diverse array of countries in South Asia and the Western Balkans using varied methodological strategies.

Her main area of interest is the political economy of public policy and service delivery, focused mainly around empirical analyses of decentralisation, informal institutions and, more recently, nutrition policy. She has contributed to both policy and social science research in these areas. She has extensive training in multi-method research, and her work uses a combination of methodologies that include case study analysis, regression analysis, ethnographies, social network analysis and archival research. She collaboratively designed, developed and conducts a seven-module Mixed Methods Research Course for 40 mid-career researchers each year from various universities in Africa.

Shandana has led a number of country studies in which she has collaborated with researchers across different disciplines. These include: a study to empirically analyse the impact of decentralisation and informal institutions on the politics of public service delivery in rural Pakistan (2003-2007); a comparative project on informal local governance institutions in India and Pakistan (2007-2010); a comparative study of public policy to combat malnutrition in six countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America (2011-12); and a research project on political economy evaluations of the impact of decentralisation, and on citizen participation and informal institutions, in the Western Balkans (2012-2013).

Her current research looks at elections in Pakistan, and uses a mixed-methods approach to empirically analyse the impact of clientelism, non-state actors, colonial history and social structures on voting behaviour and electoral politics. This work has produced a more nuanced perspective of rural voting behaviour in Pakistan, and provides the missing variation in the conventional divide between clientelistic and programmatic politics in comparative politics literature. It also develops a new instrument to measure voting behaviour in contexts where voters have no or heavily mediated contact with political parties through intermediating actors and institutions.

She has over seven years of experience teaching undergraduate, graduate, and professional training courses in the UK, Kenya, Pakistan and USA. Her publications include chapters in Local Democracy in South Asia (Sage Publications, 2008), Devolution and Governance (Oxford University Press, 2007), and Decentralisation and Local Governance (Orient Longman, 2005). She has also conducted policy research for ADB, DFID, CIDA, SDC and the UNDP Human Development Report Office.

Research interests: Political economy of service delivery, decentralisation, informal institutions, nutrition policy, voting behaviour.

Languages: English (fluent), Urdu/Hindi (native), Pushto (native), Portuguese (basic), Punjabi (basic).

The aim of this cooperation with the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation is to strengthen their Democratisation, Decentralisation and Local Governance Network's understanding, learning, and policy engagement in decentralised and democratic local governance.

More details

Evidence and Lessons from Latin America' (ELLA) is a knowledge sharing and learning programme, that seeks to improve knowledge of Latin America's development among African and Asian policymakers, practitioners and researchers - on selected economic, environmental and governance issues.

More details

A new partnership between the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and IDS has been formed with the aim of supporting SDC’s ‘Democratisation, Decentralisation and Local Governance Network’ (DLGN) between 2012 and 2014. IDS’ contribution will seek to improve DLGN’s effectiveness and impact of policy strategies and operations.

More details

The aim of this third phase of cooperation between IDS and SDC is to share learning and collaborate on policy engagement in priority areas of decentralised and democratic local governance.

More details


Innovative Methods for Research on Social and Political Action in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings

IDS Working Paper 487 (2017)

Fragile and conflict-affected settings present particular challenges for researchers seeking to study the effect of social and political action (SPA). These challenges are not simply due to prevalent violence and conflict, but contexts of insecurity can restrict the flow of information, key actors can be hard to identify, and if information can be found, vital pieces of the picture may be missing. More details

This is the cover to IDS Bulletin 48.2, 'Interrogating Decentralisation in Africa'.

Interrogating Decentralisation in Africa

IDS Bulletin 48.2 (2017)

What are the smaller stories hidden within the larger trends on governance in Africa, and to what extent has decentralisation affected change in these areas? What are the factors that keep local government reforms from achieving more complete outcomes? More details

Non-IDS publication

Analysing Informal Local Governance Institutions: Practical Guidelines

The objective of this analytical framework is to support a politically informed and context-tuned analysis of a particular range of non-state institutions involved in local governance processes. More details

Non-IDS publication

Customary Institutions and Public Authority: A Literature Review

We ask three main guiding questions in this review: (a) what types of informal, traditional or religious authorities/institutions organise citizen interaction and engagement with the state in different parts of the world; (b) why do these institutions matter from a policy perspective and what are their implications for governance; and (c) from where do they draw legitimacy to engage with the state on behalf of communities and to take on various governance functions? More details

Non-IDS publication

E-discussion on Informal Authorities in Local Governance

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and IDS organised an e-discussion to complement an on-going learning project on mapping informal authorities and their role in local democracy. More details

Women’s votes matter: unpacking gender politics in Pakistan

20 Jul 2017
By Ali Cheema, Asad Liaqat, Shandana Khan Mohmand

What lies beneath Brexit vote?

28 Jun 2016
By Shandana Khan Mohmand

Unlikely comparisons for policy relevant research

08 Apr 2016
By Shandana Khan Mohmand

The good and bad news from Pakistan's May 2013 elections

22 May 2013
By Shandana Khan Mohmand

Ignore informal institutions at your own risk

12 Jun 2012
By Shandana Khan Mohmand

Thematic Expertise:
Accountability; Governance; State Capacity; Nutrition; Politics and Power; Poverty.

Related Programmes and Centres:
Action for Empowerment and Accountability.

Geographic Expertise:
India; Pakistan.