Dr Niheer Dasandi

Dr Niheer Dasandi

International Development Department
Birmingham Fellow in Politics and Development

Contact details

International Development Department
School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Niheer Dasandi is a Birmingham Fellow in Politics and Development. His research broadly looks at the politics of development and international political economy. More specifically, his research focuses on the politics of reform processes in development countries, which includes an ongoing research project looking at recent reforms in Myanmar. His research also considers the relationship between development and rights, and how this relationship is influenced by international and domestic politics. Niheer's research more generally examines the transnational drivers of development. He is currently involved in a research project that seeks to better understand state preferences in world politics by applying text analysis to UN speeches.

Niheer's research is based on a methodologically plural approach, drawing on a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods. His research has been published in leading academic journals.


  • PhD in Political Science, University College London, 2013
  • MSc in International Public Policy, University College London, 2006
  • BSc (Hons) in Mathematics with Economics, University College London, 2005


Niheer joined IDD in October 2016 as a Birmingham Fellow. He previously worked with the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) based in the Department of Political Science, University College London (UCL). Prior to this, he completed a PhD in Political Science at UCL in 2013, where he also worked as a Teaching Fellow. Niheer has previously worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2006-2009).

Niheer's work has included close collaboration with policymakers at the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank, and Oxfam. His research draws on a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches, and he has conducted fieldwork in Bosnia and Herzegovina, India, Myanmar, and Uganda.

Postgraduate supervision

Niheer is interested in supervising PhD dissertations in the following areas:

  • Politics of reform in developing countries
  • Links beteween development, democracy, and human rights
  • Politics of development assistance
  • International political economy of development

He is interested in supervising projects that employ qualitative and/or quantitative methodological approaches.


Research interests

  • The politics of reform processes in developing countries
  • Links between development, democracy, and rights
  • The politics of development assistance
  • Transnational drivers of development
  • State preferences in world politics
  • Global governance

 Current projects

  • The politics of economic reform in Myanmar
  • The donor’s dilemma: development assistance and human rights violations
  • Using UN General Debate speeches to understand state preferences in world politics


Recent publications


Dasandi, N 2018, Is Democracy Failing? The Big Idea, Thames & Hudson, London. <https://thamesandhudson.com/is-democracy-failing-9780500293652>


Carmody, P, Dasandi, N & Mikhaylov, S 2020, 'Power plays and balancing acts: the paradoxical effects of Chinese trade on African foreign policy positions', Political Studies, vol. 68, no. 1, pp. 224-246. https://doi.org/10.1177/0032321719840962

Hudson, D, Laehn, NS, Dasandi, N & vanHeerde-Hudson, J 2019, 'Making and unmaking cosmopolitans: an experimental test of the mediating role of emotions in international development appeals', Social Science Quarterly, vol. 100, no. 3, pp. 544-564. https://doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.12587

Pomeroy, C, Dasandi, N & Jankin Mikhaylov, S 2019, 'Multiplex Communities and the Emergence of International Conflict', PLoS ONE, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal

Watts, N, Dasandi, N & Et al 2019, 'The 2019 Report of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: Ensuring the Health of a Child Born Today is Not Defined by a Changing Climate', The Lancet, vol. 394, no. 10211, pp. 1836. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)32596-6

Dasandi, N & Erez, L 2019, 'The donor's dilemma: international aid and human rights violations', British Journal of Political Science, vol. 49, no. 4, pp. 1431-1452. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123417000229

Dasandi, N, Laws, E, Marquette, H & Robinson, M 2019, 'What does the evidence tell us about ‘thinking and working politically’ in development assistance?', Politics and Governance, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 155-168. https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v7i2.1904

Watts, N, Dasandi, N & Et al 2018, 'The 2018 Report of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: Shaping the Health of Nations for Centuries to Come', The Lancet, vol. 392, no. 10163. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32594-7

Watts, N, Dasandi, N & Et al 2018, 'The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: From 25 Years of Inaction to a Global Transformation for Public Health', The Lancet, vol. 391, no. 10120, pp. 581-630. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32464-9

Dasandi, N & Esteve, M 2017, 'The Politics-Bureaucracy Interface in Developing Countries', Public Administration and Development. https://doi.org/10.1002/pad.1793

Baturo, A, Dasandi, N & Mikhaylov, S 2017, 'Understanding state preferences with text as data: Introducing the UN General Debate corpus', Research and Politics, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053168017712821

Braithwaite, A, Dasandi, N & Hudson, D 2016, 'Does poverty cause conflict? Isolating the causal origins of the conflict trap', Conflict Management and Peace Science, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 45-66. https://doi.org/10.1177/0738894214559673, https://doi.org/10.1177/0738894214559673


Beswick, D, Dasandi, N, Hudson, D & Vanheerde-hudson, J 2019, International development NGOs, representations in fundraising appeals and public attitudes in UK–Africa relations. in D Beswick, J Fisher & SR Hurt (eds), Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century: Between ambition and pragmatism. Manchester University Press. https://doi.org/10.7765/9781526134141.00020

Working paper

Dasandi, N & Hudson, D 2017 'The Political Road to Digital Revolution: How Myanmar’s Telecoms Reform Happened' DLP Research Paper, no. 43, Developmental Leadership Program, University of Birmingham, Birmingham.

Marquette, H, Dasandi, N & Robinson, M 2016 'Thinking and Working Politically: From theory building to building an evidence base' Developmental Leadership Program, vol. DLP Research Paper 37, University of Birmingham. <http://publications.dlprog.org/TWPev.pdf>

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