Rachel Beatty Riedl

Associate Professor of Political Science, Northwestern University
Chapter Member: Chicagoland SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Rachel

Riedl’s research focuses on democratic representation and political party systems, with a regional focus in Africa. She has conducted policy assessments on democratic rule, local governance and elections for the World Bank, USAID, and the Carter Center. She is also engaged in research on religious mobilization in politics. She engages in civic development as a Partner at Chicago’s Social Venture Partners, to advise non-profit organizations in achieving systemic change in local development.

In the News

"Are Efforts to Limit Presidential Power in Africa Working?," Rachel Beatty Riedl, The Washington Post, February 16, 2015.
"Vibrant Democracies Emerging from Power Vacuums Give Hope for Burkina Faso," Rachel Beatty Riedl, The Washington Post, November 5, 2014.


"Religion as Stimulant of Political Participation: Evidence from an Experiment in Nairobi, Kenya," (with Gwyneth McClendon), American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, 2014.
Examines Pentecostal and mainline Christian sermon content and the political effects of various messages on individuals.
Authoritarian Origins of Democratic Party Systems in Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2014).
Explains variation in (semi) democratic political party system institutionalization across Sub-Saharan Africa as a result of earlier patterns of authoritarian power consolidation.
"Party Systems and Decentralization in Africa" (with J. Tyler Dickovick). Studies in Comparative International Development 49, no. 3 (2014).
Examines the degree of autonomy and authority transferred to the local level in recent decentralization reforms across a variety of countries and examines the strategic incentives of ruling parties and opposition to support administrative, fiscal, and political decentralization.
"Political Parties and Uncertainty in Developing Democracies" (with Noam Lupu). Comparative Political Studies 46, no. 11 (2013).
Presents a research agenda surrounding the concept of uncertainty in developing democracies, and explains the causal implications for political, economic and institutional uncertainty for party system development across the developing world.