Dr. Katherine Bersch is the Nancy Akers and J. Mason Wallace Associate Professor of Political Science at Davidson College. She is also an investigator with The Governance Project at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law as well as a co-founder of the Global Survey of Public Servants. During the 2022-23 academic year, she was a Visiting Fellow at the Kellogg Institute at Notre Dame. Her research focuses on democratic quality in developing countries, with an emphasis on governance reform and state capacity in Latin America.

Photo of the book "When Democracies Deliver"

Bersch is the author of When Democracies Deliver: Governance Reform in Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2019), which won the Herbert Simon Book Award from the Public Administration Section of the American Political Science Association, the Donna Lee van Cott Best Book Prize from the Political Institutions and Processes Section of the Latin American Studies Association, the Charles H. Levine Memorial Book Prize from IPSA’s Research Committee on the Structure of Governance, and the ASPA Prize for the Best Book Published in Public Administration. 

Bersch has also been published or is forthcoming in Comparative Politics, Governance, Public Administration Review, Studies in Comparative International Development, Political Research Quarterly, Annual Review of Political Science, and the European Journal of Development Research, Latin American Politics and Society, among others. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage. She is the recipient of the 2015 LAPIS Award from the Latin American Studies Association for her coauthored paper on state capacity, and her research has been supported by a Fulbright Scholar Award, a Boren Fellowship from the National Security Education Program, an Eisenhower-Roberts Fellowship, a Mike Hogg Endowed Fellowship, a U.S. Student Fulbright Grant, and a National P.E.O. Scholar Award.

Prior to joining the faculty at Davidson, she completed her doctorate in Government at the University of Texas at Austin. She was then a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law, and at McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development.