Eugenia Nazrullaeva


Postdoctoral Fellow
LSE School of Public Policy


I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Public Policy at the London School of Economics & Political Science. I am also affiliated with the CAGE Research Centre at the University of Warwick and with the project “Democracy under Threat: How Education can Save it” at the University of Glasgow.

I received my PhD in Political Science from UCLA. I hold PhD (Candidate of Science) in Economics from the Higher School of Economics and MA in Economics from the New Economic School.

My research interests are in the areas of political economy and economic history.


Varieties of Indoctrination (V-Indoc): The Politicization of Education and the Media Around the World, with Anja Neundorf, Ksenia Northmore-Ball, Katerina Tertytchnaya, and Wooseok Kim. Perspectives on Politics, 2024, FirstView
Previous version: V-Dem Working Paper #136

Abstract: For many decades, scholars have assumed that voluntary compliance and citizens’ commitment to a regime’s principles and values are critical for regime stability. A growing literature argues that indoctrination is essential to achieve this congruence. However, the absence of a clear definition and comprehensive comparative measures of indoctrination have hindered systematic research on such issues. In this paper, we fill this gap by synthesizing literature across disciplines to clarify the concept of indoctrination, focusing particularly on the politicization of education and the media. We then outline how the abstract concept can be operationalized, and introduce and validate an original expert-coded dataset on indoctrination that covers 160 countries from 1945 to the present. The dataset should facilitate a new generation of empirical inquiry on the causes and consequences of indoctrination.

Download the dataset: Neundorf, A., Nazrullaeva, E., Northmore-Ball, K., Tertytchnaya, K., Kim, W., Benavot, A., Bromley, P., Knutsen, C. H., Lutscher, P., Marquardt, K., Paglayan, A., Pemstein, D., Seim, B. & Rydén, O. (2023), Data and "Codebook: Varieties of political indoctrination in education and the media (V-Indoc)." URL:

The Puzzle of Clientelism: Political Discretion and Elections Around the World, with Miriam Golden. Elements in Political Economy, Cambridge University Press, 2023

Abstract: This Element presents newly-collected cross-national data on reelection rates of lower house national legislators from almost 100 democracies around the world. Reelection rates are low/high in countries where clientelism and vote buying are high/low. Drawing on theory developed to study lobbying, the authors explain why politicians continue clientelist activities although they do not secure reelection. The Element also provides a thorough review of the last decade of literature on clientelism, which the authors define as discretionary resource distribution by political actors. The combination of novel empirical data and theoretically-grounded analysis provides a radically new perspective on clientelism. Finally, the Element suggests that clientelism evolves with economic development, assuming new forms in highly developed democracies but never entirely disappearing.

Regional elites and Moscow, with Nikolay Petrov. Chapter in: The New Autocracy: Information, Politics, and Policy in Putin’s Russia, ed. Daniel Treisman, Brookings Institution Press, 2018

Substituting growth for money: Intergovernmental transfers and electoral support in the Russian Federation, 2000-2008, with Israel Marques and Andrei Yakovlev. Economics & Politics, 2016, 28(1), 23-54

Abstract: Given limited resources and economic realities, how do politicians distribute monetary transfers in order to retain office? Previous work has largely focused on two models – a core model of rewarding loyal supporters and a swing model of purchasing the support of easily swayed voters. Empirical results have proven mixed, however. In this article, we argue that these mixed results are due to economic factors, which condition politicians' distributive strategies. In our model, we consider that politician and voters are involved in a repeated game, where past expectations condition future strategy. Current (core) supporters who receive few benefits and perceive themselves worse off than other, less loyal, groups are likely to be less loyal themselves tomorrow. In our model, politicians avoid this by providing their supporters consumption benefits directly, in the form of transfers, or indirectly, via strong economic growth. Where economic growth is good, politicians can distribute less to core supporters, who benefit from the rising economy. Where economic growth is weak, however, politicians make transfers to their core supporters to ensure future loyalty. We test our theory using data on federal transfers from the Russian Federal government to 78 Russian Regions from 2000–2008.

Working papers

Global Legislators Database: The Personal Backgrounds of National Legislators in the World’s Democracies, with Nicholas Carnes, Joshua Ferrer, Miriam Golden, Esme Lillywhite and Noam Lupu. Revise & Resubmit, British Journal of Political Science
Abstract: This note describes the Global Legislators Database (GLD), a new crossnational dataset on characteristics – political party, gender, age, education, and occupational background — of the roughly 20,000 lawmakers in the world’s democracies. The database includes 97 democracies (of 103) with populations over 300,000, with information about the 99.9 percent of legislators who held office in each country’s lower chamber or unicameral legislature during one legislative session in 2016 or 2017. The GLD is the largest individual-level biographical database on national legislatures ever assembled, and it has a wide range of potential applications. In this note, we show that the GLD’s estimates of characteristics such as female representation are strongly validated by alternative estimates; we preview one potential application by conducting tests of hypotheses about gender, education, and occupationally-based gaps in reelection rates; and we discuss other possible uses for this one-of-a-kind resource for studying representation in the world’s democracies.

Gathering, Evaluating, and Aggregating Social Scientific Models of COVID-19 Mortality, with Miriam Golden, Tara Slough, Haoyu Zhai, Alexandra Scacco, Macartan Humphreys, Eva Vivalt, Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, Kim Dionne, Sampada KC et al. Revise & Resubmit, Political Analysis

Abstract: On what basis can we claim a scholarly community understands a phenomenon? Social scientists generally propagate many rival explanations for what they study. How best to discriminate between or aggregate them introduces myriad questions because we lack standard tools that synthesize discrete explanations. In this paper, we assemble and test a set of approaches to the selection and aggregation of predictive statistical models representing different social scientific explanations for a single outcome: original crowd-sourced predictive models of COVID-19 mortality. We evaluate social scientists' ability to select or discriminate between these models using an expert forecast elicitation exercise. We provide a framework for aggregating discrete explanations, including using an ensemble algorithm (model stacking). Although the best models outperform benchmark machine learning models, experts are generally unable to identify models' predictive accuracy. Findings support the use of algorithmic approaches for the aggregation of social scientific explanations over human judgement or ad-hoc processes.

[“COVID-19 Model Challenges” Shiny app] [Pre-registration]

If You Do Not Change Your Behavior: Preventive Repression in Lithuania under Soviet Rule, with Mark Harrison. CEPR Discussion Paper, No. 18182, May 2023; CAGE WP 664 [ungated]; Non-technical summary by CAGE
Abstract: Who is targeted by preventive repression and why? In the Soviet Union, the KGB applied a form of low-intensity preventive policing, called profilaktika. Citizens found to be engaging in politically and socially disruptive misdemeanors were invited to discuss their behavior and to receive a warning. Using novel data from Lithuania, a former Soviet republic, in the late 1950s and the 1970s, we study the profile and behaviors of the citizens who became subjects of interest to the KGB. We use topic modeling to investigate the operational focuses of profilaktika. We find that profilaktika began as a way of managing specific threats or “known risks” that arose from the experience of postwar Sovietization. The proportion of “unknown risks” – people without risk factors in their background or personal records – increased by the 1970s. These people were targeted because of their anti-Soviet behavior, which the KGB attributed to “contagious” foreign influences and the spread of harmful values.

Discrimination, Market Entry Barriers, and Corporations in Imperial Russia, with Imil Nurutdinov
Abstract: We study discriminatory policies of the tsarist government against Jewish entrepreneurs. No general incorporation law existed in Imperial Russia. Every single corporate charter had to be approved by the Ministry of Finance and signed by the tsar. Since 1890, the tsarist government started to include discriminatory clauses in some corporate charters that banned Jewish entrepreneurs from share ownership and/or purchasing property. What are the causes and consequences of discrimination in the short and long run? Using newly digitized data on the universe of Russian manufacturing factories in 1890, we find higher incidence of discriminatory clauses in corporate charters issued between 1891 and 1913 in more capital-intensive industries with fewer Jewish incumbents. To evaluate economic implications of discriminatory policies, we assemble a novel dataset from corporations’ balance sheets in 1885–1894. We find that corporations with discriminatory clauses in their charters were more likely to issue debt than equity. What was the effect of discriminatory barriers on potential market entrants? To address this question, we define counterfactual entrepreneurs as the universe of factory owners in 1890. Combining ethnicity information from one million individual WWI casualty records and the merchant guilds’ records to predict entrepreneurs’ ethnicity, we find evidence that barriers for Jewish entrepreneurs led to the incorporation of relatively less productive non-Jewish entrepreneurs. Finally, we show that discriminatory policies had broader economic implications including for the corporations without restrictions in their charters: corporations with Jewish founders that publicly traded on the St. Petersburg Stock Exchange in 1865–1913 underperformed post-1890.

Employment Concentration and Voter Turnout in Russian Elections

Establishing a Parliament: the Political Economy of Elections in Late Imperial Russia

Effects on Reelection Rates of the Introduction of Merit Civil Service Appointments in U.S. States, with Miriam Golden and Dylan Potts
Abstract: Access to patronage appointments is typically believed to confer an electoral advantage. Using a newly-assembled dataset of all persons elected to all U.S. state legislatures between 1900 and 2016, we study the effects of the introduction of merit civil service reform on reelection rates. Employing multiple new statistical methods appropriate for the staggered introduction of reform legislation, our results show that reelection rates significantly increase following the abolition of patronage appointments. We then show that one reason for the increase in reelection rates comes from increases in rates of rerunning by incumbents. We interrogate this with a discussion of why it might have occurred, and advance three hypotheses that could explain observed changes in political ambition.

Personalism and Non-Coercive Control in Dictatorships, with Katerina Tertytchnaya, Wooseok Kim, Anja Neundorf, Ksenia Northmore-Ball

Abstract: Contemporary authoritarian regimes are characterized by increasing personalization of power in the hands of the leader. While studies have explored the politics of power-sharing in these regimes, less is known about personalist leaders' strategies to manage the masses. To gain traction on this question we ask whether, in the process of amassing power, personalist leaders invest in non-coercive strategies of political control. The empirical analysis leverages novel, expert-coded data on state control of the education system and of the media and covers 220 regimes in the period 1950-2010. Contrary to conventional wisdom that personalist leaders shut down non-coercive pathways of control, we show that the personalization of power drives growing investments in strategies of indoctrination and information control through schools and the media. Findings, which answer several calls to move beyond the study of repression for understanding the politics of non-democracies, have implications for research on authoritarian politics and personalism.

How Data Collection Methods Affect Inferences: Lessons from Three Education Data Sets, with Adrián del Río, Wooseok Kim, Carl Henrik Knutsen, Anja Neundorf and Agustina Paglayan

Abstract: Innovative and resource-demanding data collection is crucial for the advancement of social science research. Many efforts have been made to assemble original datasets and make them publicly available for the benefit of the wider research community. Unfortunately, it is common for researchers to use existing datasets without paying sufficient attention to how they were constructed. To shed light on the advantages, limitations, and implications of different data collection methodologies, and assess how (often seemingly trivial) differences in assumptions or practices influence scores, we take advantage of a unique opportunity to compare three new historical datasets. These three datasets have important similarities that facilitate comparisons, measuring similar aspects of education practices and policies across countries, but they were created using different methods and even seemingly similar measures rely on slightly different assumptions. The EPSM dataset (Education Policies and Systems across Modern History) contains information about the content of de jure school curriculum, teacher training, and other education policies and is based on hand-coding a combination of primary and secondary sources. The HEQ initiative (Historical Education Quality Database) gathers information on similar issues but relies entirely on primary sources such as education laws, regulations, and national curriculum plans. The V-Indoc dataset (Varieties of Indoctrination) relies on country expert assessments of school curriculums, teacher policies, and the presence and nature of political indoctrination. We introduce each dataset and characterize the degree of convergence/divergence between comparable variables along several relevant dimensions.

Resting papers

Criminal Persecution of Business in Russia’s Regions: Private Interests vs. "Stick" System, with Alexey Baranov and Andrei Yakovlev, May 2013
Abstract: What explains the existence of predatory criminal persecution practices? Is it rent seeking behavior and private interests of law enforcement officials, or the inefficiency of the police institution? In this paper we empirically test the relationship between indicators of economic crimes in Russia's regions, the level of economic activity, and turnover of regional elites. Our main goal is to find out whether private interests or the so-called "stick" system are responsible for the overall upward trend in economic crimes observed in 2004–2009. We use a unique ICSID database, which contains official MVD’s (Ministry of Internal Affairs) data on economic crimes (according to the articles of the Russian Criminal Code), along with biographical data for chiefs of regional police departments. Our results suggest that the “stick” system based on key performance indicators is responsible for the intensifying upward trend in the dynamics of economic crime rates in 2004–2009, which overshadows negative consequences of predatory persecution practices.

Op-eds and policy papers

Indoctrination in Russia. Russian Analytical Digest, Issue 309, February 2024

The invasion of Ukraine has upended Russian education. Washington Post, “The Monkey Cage.” September 14, 2022