Seim is a scholar of comparative politics, focusing on the political economy of development. Her research agenda examines the relationship between citizens and political officials, with a particular emphasis on accountability breakdowns in consolidating democracies and developing countries in Africa. Overarching themes in her work are petty corruption dynamics, anti-corruption policy, aid politicization, taxation-accountability links, and survey research methods and ethics. She partners with government institutions, international organizations, and policymakers, as well as other scholars.
Seim obtained her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego in 2014.For the 2014-2015 academic year, she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Varieties of Democracy Project. In 2015, she 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, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Global Studies, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science.