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Michelle D'Arcy
Assistant Professor, Political Science

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Big Men and Poor Voters: Political Corruption and Elections in Kenya in, editor(s)Inge Amundsen , Political Corruption and Development. Extraction, Power Preservation and Donor Responses, Edward Elgar, 2019, [Michelle D'Arcy] Book Chapter, 2019

Getting to Sweden: The Origins of High Tax Compliance in the Swedish Tax State in, editor(s)Sven Steinmo , Leap of Faith: the historical and institutional roots of tax compliance, Oxford University Press, 2018, pp30 - 45, [Marina Nistotskaya and Michelle D'Arcy] Book Chapter, 2018

Michelle D'Arcy and Marina Nistotskaya, The Early Modern Origins of Contemporary European Tax Outcomes, European Journal of Political Research, 57, (1), 2018, p47 - 67 Journal Article, 2018 DOI URL

Devolution and County Government in Kenya in, editor(s)N. Cheeseman, K. Kanyinga and G. Lynch , The Oxford Handbook on Kenyan Politics, Oxford University Press, 2018, pp100 - 120, [Michelle D'Arcy] Book Chapter, 2018

The Irish Tax State and Historical Legacies: Slowly converging capacity, persistent unwillingness to pay in, editor(s)Douglas Kanter and Patrick Walsh , Taxation, Politics, and Protest in Ireland, 1662-2016, Plagrave Macmillan, 2018, [Michelle D'Arcy and Marina Nistotskaya] Book Chapter, 2018

Michelle D'Arcy and Marina Nistotskaya, State First, then Democracy: Using Cadastral Records to Explain Governmental Performance in Public Goods Provision, Governance, 30 (2), 193-209, (2), 2017, p193 - 209 Journal Article, 2017

Michelle D'Arcy and Agnes Cornell, Devolution and Corruption in Kenya: Everyone's Turn to Eat?, African Affairs, 115, (459), 2016, p246 - 273 Journal Article, 2016

Rulers and their Elite Rivals: How democratization has increased incentives for corruption in sub-Saharan Africa in, editor(s)Carl Dahlström and Lena Wängnerud , Elites, Institutions, and the Quality of Government, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, [Michelle D'Arcy] Book Chapter, 2015

Agnes Cornell & Michelle D'Arcy, Plus ça Change? ­County Level Politics after Devolution, Journal of East African Studies, 8 , (1), 2014, p173 - 191 Journal Article, 2014

D'Arcy, Michelle, Credible Enforcement before Credible Commitment: Exploring the Importance of Sequencing, 2013 Working Paper, 2013 URL TARA - Full Text

D'Arcy, Michelle, Non-state actors and universal services in Tanzania and Lesotho: state-building by alliance, Journal of Modern African Studies, 51, (2), 2013, p219 - 247 Journal Article, 2013

D'Arcy, Michelle, Food Security and Elite-Ruler Relations in Sub-Saharan Africa: Exploring the impact of democracy on public goods provision, 2012 Working Paper, 2012 TARA - Full Text URL

D'Arcy, Michelle, 'Taxation, Democracy and State-Building: how does sequencing matter?' , 2012 Working Paper, 2012 URL TARA - Full Text

D'Arcy, Michelle, Why do citizens assent to pay tax? Legitimacy, taxation and the African State, 2011 Working Paper, 2011 URL TARA - Full Text

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Agnes Cornell & Michelle D'Arcy, Devolution and Development in Kenya, International Centre for Local Democracy Working Paper series, 2014 Report, 2014

Research Expertise


My research tries to understand the conditions under which political order, democracy and welfare maximizing institutions emerge. In particular, I investigates the relationship between democracy and state-building in two contexts: in the historical evolution of Western states, and in contemporary African countries. I use both qualitative methods, to build theory, and quantitative methods, to test theory, and address my work to debates in political economy, international development and political science.


  • Title
    • Credible Enforcement before Credible Commitment:Exploring the Consequences of Institutional Sequencing
  • Summary
    • This projects explores the consequences for development of different pathways of institutional sequencing, asking specifically if democratizing before the state has become strong leads to the same outcomes as democratizing after. The project draws on both historical data on how Western states developed, and contrasts this with contemporary developing countries. A range of methodologies, from qualitative case studies to psychological experiments are used to test the theories developed.
  • Funding Agency
    • Swedish Research Council
  • Date From
    • 2014
  • Date To
    • 2018
  • Title
    • Do Local Elections Foster Local Democracy? - Party Strategies in the First Elections at the Country Level in Kenya
  • Summary
    • On March 4th 2013 Kenyans voted, for the first time, to elect governors at the sub-national level. This project investigates the mobilization strategies adopted by candidates for governor in order to understand how devolution is likely to impact on Kenyan politics. In doing so, the project aims to examine the conditions under which local democracy becomes a vehicle for increased accountability and when it does not.
  • Funding Agency
    • Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy
  • Date From
    • 2013
  • Date To
    • 2015


Awards and Honours

Political Science Association of Ireland Prize for Excellence in Teaching and Learning 2016

Provost's Teaching Award 2016


Member of the American Political Science Association 2009

Development Studies Association of Ireland Editorial Advisory Board 2014