Sirianne Dahlum

Sirianne Dahlum

Professor in Political Science

University of Oslo

Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)


I’m a Professor in Political Science at the University of Oslo, and a Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). Prior to this, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem).

I’m leading the project “When will citizens defend democracy? (DefDem)”, funded by a Young Research Talent grant from Norwegian Research Council and an evaluation of the Norwegian democracy, commissioned by the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development.

Much of my research explores why and when citizens develop preferences for democracy and dictatorship, and when they will challenge political leaders and regimes through actions such as nonviolent and violent mass protest. One recurrent theme in my published work is how education influences citizens’ political preferences and participation in mass protest.

My work is featured in journals such as Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, British Journal of Political Science, World Development and Journal of Conflict Resolution, and outlets such as the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage Blog and BBC News. I’m a member of the Norwegian Academy for Young Researchers.


  • Democratization and autocratization
  • Mass attitudes
  • Nonviolent and violent mobilization
  • Quantitative methods


  • PhD in Political Science, 2017

    University of Oslo

  • MA in Political Science, 2012

    University of Oslo

  • MSc in Comparative Politics, 2010

    London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)


Journal articles

Mass protest and social movements

Dahlum, S., Pinckney, J., & Wig, T. (2023). Moral Logics of Support for Nonviolent Resistance: Evidence From a Cross-National Survey Experiment. Comparative Political Studies, 56(3), 326-362.

Dahlum, S. (2023). Joining forces: Social coalitions and democratic revolutions. Journal of Peace Research, 60(1), 42-57.

Dahlum, S. and Wig, T. (2020). Chaos on Campus. Universities and mass political protest. Comparative Political Studies, 54(1), 3-32

Dahlum, S. (2019). Students in the streets: education and nonviolent protest. Comparative Political Studies, 52(2), 277-309.

Dahlum, S., Knutsen, C. H., & Wig, T. (2019). Who revolts? Empirically revisiting the social origins of democracy. The Journal of Politics, 81(4), 1494-1499.

Dahlum, S., & Wig, T. (2019). Educating demonstrators: Education and mass protest in Africa. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 63(1), 3-30.

Democracy and autocracy

Lührmann, A., Mechkova, V., Dahlum, S., Maxwell, L., Olin, M., Petrarca, C. S., Sigman, R., Wilson, M. & Lindberg, S. I. (2018). State of the world 2017: autocratization and exclusion? Democratization, 25(8), 1321-1340. (open access)

Dahlum, S. and C.H. Knutsen (2018). Do Democracies Provide Better Education? Revisiting the Democracy–Human Capital Link. World Development 94(1): 186-199.

Dahlum, S. and Knutsen, C.H. (2017). What Counts as Evidence? Panel Data and the Empirical Evaluation of Revised Modernization TheoryBritish Journal of Political Science. 47(2): 473-478.

Dahlum, S. and Knutsen, C.H. (2017).  Democracy by demand? Reinvestigating the effect of self-expression values on political regime type,  British Journal of Political Science. 47(2): 437-461.

Gender and governence

Mechkova, V., Dahlum, S., & Petrarca, C. S. (2022). [Women’s political representation, good governance and human development.] ( Governance.

Dahlum, S., Knutsen, C. H., & Mechkova, V. (2022). [Women’s political empowerment and economic growth.] ( World Development, 156, 105822.

Dahlum, S. and Wig, T. (2020). Peace above the glass ceiling: Historical female empowerment and civil conflict, 1800-2017. International Studies Quarterly, 64(4), 879–893

PhD Thesis

Dahlum, Sirianne (2019). Schooling for dissent? Education, autocratic regime instability and transitions to democracy

Reports and commissioned research

The conflict - inequality trap? Linking internal armed conflict to horizontal inequality (with Håvard Nygård, Siri Rustad and Gudrun Østby). 2019. Background paper for the UNDP Human Development Report 2019.

V-Dem Annual Democracy Report 2018. Democracy Facing Global Challenges (with Anna Lührmann,  Staffan I. Lindberg, Laura Maxwell, Valeriya Mechkova, Moa Olin, Shreeya Pillai, Constanza Sanhueza Petrarca, Rachel Sigman, Natalia Stepanova.) 2018. V-Dem Institute, University of Gothenburg.

Does political inclusion and civil rights protection promote economic development? (with Valeriya Mechkova). 2018. Research paper commissioned by USAID

Women’s Rights and Political Empowerment in Benin, Bolivia, Malawi and Morocco  (with Constanza Petrarcha and Moa Olin). Thematic Report Series 2019:4. The Varieties of Democracies Institute. Paper prepared for the European Commission

Women in Politics and Good Governance (with Constanza Petrarcha). 2018. Research paper commissioned by USAID. 

The economic costs of the shrinking civil space: Civil liberties and economic growth (with Carl Henrik Knutsen and Staffan Lindberg). 2018. Research paper commissioned by the global nonprofit initiative B-Team  

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