My research examines the relationship between civil society and democracy through a variety of lenses. I have several projects that explore the ability of civil society to promote citizen participation. In the U.S context, this is examined in my award-winning, Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly co-authored piece entitled, “Can Nonprofits Increase Voter Turnout? Evidence From an Agency-Based Mobilization Experiment.” I have also looked at this question from a comparative perspective, with work in International Journal of Public Administration and International Review of Administrative Sciences that explores determinants of local political participation in West Africa, specifically how attitudes and perceptions about local government influence citizen engagement. I am currently revising a manuscript on the potential influence of civil society density on local political participation in Liberia.
Other work examines the role of civil society in additional aspects of democratic development, such as the potential fit between civil society and the state relative to social accountability, and the potential role of civil society in decentralization and in enhancing the capacity of local governance.
My work incorporates original field research, including data collected from civil society organizations in Liberia during fall 2015. This data was harnessed in a contribution to a special issue of Voluntas: The International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations that explores the nature of the donor-CSO relationship in Liberia, changes in patterns of donor aid and the implications for civil society in Liberia, and the ability of grassroots organizations to perform a substantive role in post-war redevelopment.
Currently, I am working on a book project that explores the role of indigenous civil society during the recent Ebola crisis in Liberia. Using content analysis of semi-structured interviews with 50 CSOs that engaged in Ebola relief, as well as social network analysis, I explore the unique contributions of civil society to the cross-sector collaboration formed to fight Ebola.