I am [update: was ] a political scientist who studies the micro-foundations of political behavior in the Arab Gulf states using original public opinion data and survey experiments. Substantively, my work has investigated a wide range of topics, including the rentier state and its reform, voting behavior, the political economy of sectarianism, social movements, youth politics, anti-immigrant sentiment, migrant experience and integration, cultural barriers to female labor force participation, and drivers of honor-based gender violence. I am also interested in the effects of Middle East authoritarianism on public participation in opinion research and popular conceptualizations of public opinion itself. I am [update: was ] an Associate Research Professor at the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI) at Qatar University, where I have been based since completing my Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Michigan in 2011. In Fall 2020 and 2021, I am also Visitin
Back in 2017 I was awarded a grant from the Qatar National Research Fund for a study of how people in the Arab world experience and view public opinion surveys. Some of the findings have been referenced before in an article I wrote for the Washington Post on the dangerous political weaponization of survey research in the Middle East. But the first proper academic product of the study has now been published (online) in the British Journal of Political Science . The coauthored paper examines, for the first time in an Arab country, attitudes toward public opinion surveys and their effects on survey-taking behavior. (Believe it or not, the use of surveys to measure attitudes toward surveys is a real thing, and in Western contexts such research dates to the 1950s.) A key conclusion of our study--and a surprising one perhaps--is that Arabs tend to hold quite positive views of surveys, both in absolute terms and relative to non-Arabs. Indeed, a primary motivation of the study was
The Middle East Journal has published in its Fall 2019 issue an article by myself and a Ph.D. student I am supervising titled " Crisis, State Legitimacy, and Political Participation in a Non-Democracy: How Qatar Withstood the 2017 Blockade ." The article uses rare nationally-representative public opinion data collected just prior to and after June 2017 to assess the effect of the embargo on Qatari views toward the GCC, foreign affairs, and domestic politics. The findings help shed light on the reasons why Qatari public opinion remained supportive of the (non-democratic) political status quo despite concerted efforts by the blockading countries to delegitimize the Qatari leadership and sow internal political discord during the now largely forgotten early stages of the crisis.