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Scott Williamson

Scott Williamson

Ph.D. Candidate


Scott Williamson is a PhD candidate in political science at Stanford University and a graduate research fellow funded by the National Science Foundation.  His primary research fields are in comparative political development, comparative political behavior, and international relations, with a focus on the Middle East.

Scott’s dissertation studies the politics of blame avoidance in authoritarian regimes, developing a theory of how and when dictators delegate policy responsibility to protect themselves from the public's dissatisfaction. The project evaluates the theory in the context of Jordan, combining evidence from archival documents, surveys, text analysis, experiments, data on elite turnover, and more than 100 elite interviews. It also utilizes small-N comparisons from the Middle East and cross-national data to illustrate the theory's applicability to authoritarian political systems more broadly.  

Other research projects address the persistence of authoritarian rule, popular support for democracy and human rights, attitudes toward immigrants and refugees, and the intersection between political and religious authority in the Muslim world.  

At Stanford, Scott has been affiliated with the Immigration Policy Lab, the Abbasi Program for Islamic Studies, and the Center for International Conflict and Negotiation. Previously, he worked in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and studied Arabic as a CASA fellow at the American University in Cairo. Scott has conducted fieldwork and survey research in Jordan, Tunisia, and Egypt.