(5) Cheng, Chao-yo, YuJung Julia Lee, Galen Murray, Yuree Noh, Johannes Urpelainen, and Joseph Van Horn, (2020), “Vested interests: Examining the political obstacles to power sector reform in twenty Indian states,” Energy Research & Social Science 70.

(4) Lee, YuJung Julia and Tiffany A. Radcliff, (2020), “Community Interactions and Sanitation Use by the Urban Poor: Survey Evidence from India’s SlumsUrban Studies.

(3) Bae, Joonbum and YuJung Julia Lee, (2020), “Gender, Events, and Elite Messages in Mass Opinion on Foreign Policy,Journal of Global Security Studies.

(2) Lee, YuJung Julia (2018), “Gender, Electoral Competition, and Sanitation in India ,” Comparative Politics 50(4).

(1) Lee, YuJung Julia (2017), “Informing Women and Improving Sanitation: Evidence from India,” Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 55, pp. 203-215.


Radio: “India’s Toilet Boom,” KBIA, Global Journalist, December 13, 2018

It’s World Toilet Day. Why do so many people lack adequate sanitation facilities?” The Washington Post’s The Monkey Cage, November 19, 2018.


“Misperceptions and Accountability in India’s Energy Sector” with Chao-yo Cheng (work in progress)

We explore the link between elections and misperceptions regarding energy access in India.

“Democracy and Basic Services” (work in progress)

This project investigates the relationship between democracy and basic services using cross-sectional panel data from countries around the world. Unlike the current literature on the impact of democracies that focus on regime-type differences in health outcomes such as infant mortality and life expectancy, this study analyzes non-aggregate measures to understand the relationship.

“Human Rights and Public Opinion” with Joonbum Bae. (work in progress)

“Politics of Basic Service Delivery: Evidence from India” with Chao-yo Cheng (work in progress)


The Politics of India’s Sanitation Struggle

In developing countries, many people are left without basic services, such as clean water, electricity, and sanitation. In my book project, based on my dissertation, the central puzzle is: why do democracies sometimes fail to provide basic services that are essential for development? In particular, when do democratic governments meet the demands of underrepresented groups? Sanitation plays a critical role in improving human well-being, yet it remains one of the least accessible basic services in developing countries. Today, 2.4 billion people worldwide do not have access to improved sanitation, with the greatest shortage in India. Poor sanitation causes people to contract water-borne diseases, which is the leading cause of death for young children. People in less developed countries mostly rely on their government for this basic service, yet the governance and under-provision of sanitation has been less studied in the political science literature. Instead, many observers point to cultural reasons in explaining India’s lack of sanitation, which include arguments that the caste system incorporates concepts of purity that pose a challenge for having latrines close by, or that the practice of open defecation is part of the rural lifestyle. Unlike these conventional explanations based on culture, I argue that poor sanitation is due to a lack of political representation for the main beneficiaries of latrine facilities, whom are women. I build on a rich literature linking theories of political representation to policy outcomes, by focusing on women, an under-represented group in many developing countries, to understand the political economy of sanitation provision.