Projects in development

I am in the midst of several different research projects at various stages of development. Some of these papers can be downloaded from the working paper page of this site. 

Public opinion and sexual health policymaking

With collaborators Leticia Bode (Georgetown University) and Jessica Ng (my PhD student at LSE), we are examining how the general public in Britain views PrEP, an anti-HIV drug that is highly efficacious, but relatively unknown, expensive, and sometimes controversial. We drew upon this research in a September 2018 commentary piece for The Guardian. In addition, our work was featured in a January 2019 ten-day exhibition entitled ‘How social policy research shapes the world you live in’ at the OXO Tower on London’s Southbank.

From ‘How social policy research shapes the world you live in’ at OXO Tower, London, 2019.

From ‘How social policy research shapes the world you live in’ at OXO Tower, London, 2019.

Using survey experiments and statistical analysis we reveal our findings in two separate papers:

PrEP, the National Health Service, and public opinion: understanding attitudes on sexual health policy and anti-HIV drug provision in Britain 

In this paper, we present a first-of-its-kind survey of 738 respondents to explore attitudes towards pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in Britain. Rather than surveying health care providers or potential recipients, we survey members of the general public, to whom PrEP is not well-known but are of great importance in Britain where health care is publicly-funded and expenditure decisions politically-charged. Using a survey experiment, we examine how biases against perceived beneficiaries of the drug affect public support for its funding by the National Health Service (NHS). We find that while awareness of PrEP remains very low, support for funding it is quite high irrespective of perceived beneficiaries. We offer an explanation for this finding: support for NHS-funded PrEP depends on low awareness and outdated understandings of HIV. In understanding and explaining public attitudes toward PrEP, we illustrate the effects of institutional, policy, and contextual factors on access to a preventive HIV intervention.

Comparing public opinion on PrEP and interventions for other ‘lifestyle’ diseases in Britain: HIV, HPV, and Type II Diabetes

This paper situates previous findings of broad support for funding of PrEP in a broader context and examines if the general public is similarly supportive of publicly-provisioned treatment of other diseases often seen as related to poor lifestyle choices. Two additional survey experiments ask respondents about support for publicly-funded medical interventions for HPV and Type II Diabetes: one group of respondents were presented questions including no information on their causes, while another were told about causal links with sexually transmitted infections and poor lifestyle choices. We show that when both diseases are discussed in terms linking them to lifestyle and behaviour, support for publicly-funded medical interventions drops considerably. This suggests there is something ‘special’ about public support for PrEP; on HIV respondents seem to set aside concerns about the role of ‘irresponsible’ behaviour amongst those infected.

Social organisational evolution and hybridisation

With long-time collaborators Reza Hasmath and Jennifer Hsu, I have been engaged in conceptual and theoretical work on the evolution of social organisations, trying to better understand the blurring line between society, the state and the market, and the implications that has for civil society, NGO development, organisational sustainability, and even the relationship between citizens and states. 

One paper, under revise and resubmit conceptualises government-organised non-governmental organisations: 

Conceptualizing Government-Organized Non-Governmental Organizations

This article offers a framework to identify and analyze the contemporary behaviour of the paradoxical government-organized, non-governmental organization (GONGO). We discuss how GONGOs’ activities fit within mainstream civil society theories and traditions, and suggest the emergence of what we call a ‘Xi-st’ tradition, which contrasts to the religious, Duntatist and Wilsonian NGO traditions. Furthermore, we compare and analyze GONGOs and NGOs in terms of their sources of power, main functions and strategies for execution, and dilemmas. Finally, we theorize the effects, and implications the growth of GONGOs has on state and society relations globally. 

Volunteerism, citizenship, and class in China

This newly-launched project involves a longitudinal, large N cross-national survey of citizens in China that is designed to better understand how growing volunteerism shapes, and is shaped by, notions of citizenship and class in the country. It is timed to also explore the effect of China's new Social Credit score system on this behaviour. In this project I am collaborating with the top scholars of Chinese NGOs in the world, including Reza Hasmath (Alberta), Carolyn Hsu (Colgate), Jennifer Hsu (Alberta), and Jessica Teets (Middlebury).

'Sexual mobility' and activists returning to China


LGBT Employee Organisations in multinational firms