Dr Sameen A. Mohsin Ali

Dr Sameen Ali

International Development Department
Lecturer in International Development

Contact details

IDD - School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Sameen’s research focuses on the impact of bureaucratic politics on state capacity and service delivery. She is particularly interested in the dynamics of bureaucratic reform, the implementation and impact of donor programs, and the intersection of party politics, citizens’ interests, and bureaucratic incentives. In published work, she centres bureaucratic politics in understanding the distribution of public goods, the success or failure of donor-led reform packages, the ups and downs of party politics, and in citizens’ experience of state services such as immunization.


  • PhD in Politics and International Studies, SOAS University of London, 2018
  • MSc in Comparative Politics (Research), London School of Economics and Political Science, 2010
  • BSc (Hons) in Social Sciences, Lahore University of Management Sciences, 2008


Sameen completed her PhD in Politics and International Studies from SOAS University of London in 2018. Her dissertation investigated relationships of patronage amongst politicians and bureaucrats in Pakistan as a means of targeting service delivery.

Sameen is a member of the Education, Justice and Memory Network (EdJAM), an AHRC GCRF funded project investigating the teaching and learning of violent pasts in Pakistan, the UK, Cambodia, Colombia, and Uganda. She is Co-Director of the Women in Public Service in Pakistan Oral History Archive Project and a fellow at the Mahbub-ul-Haq Research Centre (MHRC), both based at the Lahore University of Management Sciences.


  • Public Sector Reform 


Research interests

  • Bureaucratic politics and state capacity
  • The politics of bureaucratic reform
  • Citizen-bureaucrat interactions
  • Immunization and public health education
  • Teaching and learning about violent pasts

Current and recent projects

  • Co-Investigator - Zaffar, F., S.A.M. Ali, A. Zaffar, and S. Shahid. Dynamic Financial Data Analytics-PIFRA. Innovation Challenge Fund, Sub National Governance Program, Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO).
  • Co-Director - Women in Public Service in Pakistan Oral History Archive Project
  • Co-Investigator - Paulson, J., et al. Education, Justice and Memory Network (EdJAM). Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) UKRI GCRF Network Plus 2021.
  • Primary Investigator - Understanding Pakistan's Immunization Problem: A transactional approach II, Shahid Hussain Foundation Public Health Research Grant 2018-2019; 2019-2020.

Other activities

  • Consultant – Pakistan expert, COVID-19 and Federalism’s First Wave Response, Forum of Federations (August-October 2020)
  • Consultant – Governance and the Pandemic Expert Survey, Working Paper Series for the Governance Programme at the Aga Khan University, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, London. May 2020.
  • Reviewer - Bertelsmann Transformation Index, Bertelsmann Stiftung, December 2020-February 2021.
  • Consultant - SAFE-App Project. Shirkat Gah and Democratic Commission for Human Development, with Dr Suleman Shahid and Dr Fareed Zaffar, 2020-2021.
  • Consultant - Political Economy specialist, Scoping Study, DFID Pakistan Water and Natural Resources Governance Programme, July-August 2019.


Recent publications


Mcloughlin, C (ed.), Ali, SAM (ed.), Xie, K, Cheeseman, N (ed.) & Hudson, D (ed.) 2023, The Politics of Development: Institutions, Incentives, and Ideas. SAGE Publications, London.


Haroon, S & Ali, SAM 2024, 'Creating an Oral History Archive of Government Work: The Women in Public Service in Pakistan Project', Oral History Review. https://doi.org/10.1080/00940798.2024.2321316

Ali, SAM 2023, 'Bureaucratic reform' Discourse, vol. 2023, no. 6, pp. 63-65. <https://pide.org.pk/research/bureaucratic-reform/>

Ali, SAM & Altaf, SW 2021, 'Citizen trust, administrative capacity and administrative burden in Pakistan’s immunization program', Journal of Behavioral Public Administration, vol. 4, no. 1, 184, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.30636/jbpa.41.184

Ali, SAM 2021, 'Networks of effectiveness? The impact of politicization on bureaucratic performance in Pakistan', European Journal of Development Research. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41287-021-00388-y

Ali, SAM & Rais, RB 2021, 'Pakistan’s health-care system: a case of elite capture', South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, vol. 44, no. 6, pp. 1206-1228. https://doi.org/10.1080/00856401.2021.1980840

Ali, SAM & Mufti, M 2021, 'Political parties and decentralization in Pakistan', Publius: The Journal of Federalism. https://doi.org/10.1093/publius/pjab037

Ali, SAM 2020, 'Driving participatory reforms into the ground: The bureaucratic politics of irrigation management transfer in Pakistan', World Development, vol. 135, 105056. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.105056

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Abdul Majid, M & Ali, SAM 2023, Teachers and Their Monitors: Negotiating Disciplinary Regimes in Pakistan. in SM Zavattaro, JE Sowa, AC Henderson & LH Edwards (eds), Portraits of Public Service : Untold Stories from the Front Lines. SUNY Press. <https://sunypress.edu/Books/P/Portraits-of-Public-Service>


Ali, SAM 2021, Pakistan: Covid-19, federalism and the first wave response. in R Chattopadhyay, F Knüpling, D Chebenova, L Whittington & P Gonzalez (eds), Federalism and the Response to COVID-19: A Comparative Analysis. 1 edn, Routledge. <https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/oa-edit/10.4324/9781003251217-18/pakistan-sameen-mohsin-ali>

Ali, SAM 2020, Governance Amid Crisis: Delegation, Personal Gain, and Service Delivery in Pakistan. in Pakistan's Political Parties: Surviving between Dictatorship and Democracy. Georgetown University Press.


Khan, MS, Ali, SAM, Adelaine, A & Karan, A 2021, 'Rethinking vaccine hesitancy among minority groups', The Lancet, vol. 397, no. 10288, pp. 1863-1865. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00938-7

Commissioned report

Buehler, M, Schatz, E, Ali, SAM, Greene, C & Sombatpoonsiri, J 2022, How Information Disorder Affirms Authoritarianism and Destabilizes Democracy: Evidence, Trends, and Actionable Mitigation Strategies from Asia and the Pacific. SSRN. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3996805

Web publication/site

Ali, SAM, Women and Public Authority in Pakistan's Public Services, 2023, Web publication/site. <https://www.wpa-p.com/>

Ali, SAM & Saeed, T, EdJAM Pakistan Children’s Series – Beautifully illustrated stories of historical and contemporary figures, 2021, Web publication/site. <https://edjam.network/project/edjam-pakistan-childrens-series-beautifully-illustrated-booklets-of-historical-and-contemporary-figures/>

View all publications in research portal


Pakistan politics, bureaucracy, and governance; bureaucratic politics; public sector reform