Lindsay Benstead, Ph.D.

Portland State University

Country: United States (Oregon)

About Me:

Lindsay J. Benstead is Associate Professor of Political Science in the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government and Interim Director of the Middle East Studies Center (MESC) at Portland State University. She is an Affiliated Scholar in the Program on Governance and Local Development (GLD) at the University of Gothenburg and Yale University, Contributing Scholar in the Women’s Rights in the Middle East Program at Rice University, and Research Fellow in the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California. She served as Kuwait Visiting Professor at SciencesPo in Paris (fall 2016). Benstead has conducted surveys in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Jordan and contributes to the Transitional Governance Project. Her research has appeared in Perspectives on Politics, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Governance, and Foreign Affairs. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Political Science from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and served as a doctoral fellow at Yale University and a post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University. For more on her research, see

Research Interests

Comparative Political Institutions

Public Opinion

Political Participation

Gender and Politics

Legislative Politics

Non-Democratic Regimes

Representation and Electoral Systems

Specific Areas of Interest

Public Opinion

Women And Politics

Electoral Politics


Middle East Studies

Survey Research

Countries of Interest







Journal Articles:

(2018) Survey Research in the Arab World: Challenges and Opportunities, PS: Political Science and Politics

Tags: Research Methods & Research Design, Middle East & North African Politics, Public Opinion

Survey research has expanded in the Arab world since the 1980s. The Arab spring marked a watershed when surveying became possible in Tunisia and Libya, and questionnaires included previously censored questions. Almost every Arab country is now included in the Arab Barometer or World Values Survey and researchers have assembled numerous datasets to help answer theoretical and policy questions. Yet some scholars express the view that the Arab survey context is more challenging than other regions or that respondents will not answer honestly. I argue that this position reflects biases that assume “Arab exceptionalism” more than it does fair and objective assessments of data quality. Based on cross-national data analysis, I find evidence of systematically missing data in all regions and political regimes globally. These challenges and the increasing openness of some countries to survey research should spur studies on the data collection process in the Arab world and beyond.

(2016) Why Quotas Are Needed to Improve Women’s Access to Services in Clientelistic Regimes, Governance

Tags: Gender and Politics, Middle East & North African Politics, Networks And Politics

Using data from a survey of 200 Moroccan and Algerian parliamentarians, this article assesses the relationship between parliamentarian gender, quotas, and constituency service provision to females. The findings suggest that while electing women increases service provision to females, quotas are needed to create mandates in clientelistic, patriarchal settings, where serving women is a less effective electoral strategy than serving men. Deputies elected through quotas are more responsive to women than members of either sex elected without quotas. The article extends a theory of homosocial capital to explain gender gaps in parliamentarians’ supply of and citizens’ demand for services. By demonstrating a novel mandate effect and framing mandates in a positive light, the article extends the literature on gender, representation, and clientelism; urges scholars to examine service representation; and supports quotas to promote women’s access to services, political participation, and electability.