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Biography

Gokce Baykal is an affiliate of the Department of International Development. She is a political scientist by academic training and an independent consultant for almost six years, whose main research focus is within the borders of the political and social impact of poverty alleviation programmes, especially social protection programs, gender issues and humanitarian aid provision.

Her doctoral dissertation analysed the political and social impacts of conditional cash transfers (CCTs) on the poor Kurdish and Roma women in Turkey. She has extensive international teaching experience on the subjects of development, specifically the political economy of poverty-alleviation programmes, comparative social policy, politics of social policy and the political economy of social exclusion.

She has worked as a consultant on various impact evaluation projects and thematic research, commissioned by a number of reputable organisations, such as World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations Women, UNICEF, International Labour Organization (ILO), British Council and European Council.

She holds a master’s degree in Politics from New York University (NYU) and PhD in Political Science from Rutgers University, USA.

Research

Recently, she has been conducting research and impact evaluation studies on humanitarian aid provision; mainly cash transfers (ESSN) and conditional cash transfer-education (CCT-e) targeting Syrian refugee population in Turkey. She has also conducted a recent study, funded by British Council, on the impact of digital humanitarianism on the Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Currently, she has been working as a consultant within a team for UNICEF ECARO to make a strategic assessment of the Country Programme 2016-2020 that UNICEF has developed in partnership with the Turkish Government. At the same time, she is a national country-expert on mid-term evaluation of the European Union Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRIT).

Her recent co-authored article 'Do Conditionalities Increase Support for Government Transfers?' with Dr Cesar Zucco (as a lead author) and Dr Juan Pablo Luna was published by Journal of Development Studies. The study seeks to determine the extent to which imposing conditions on beneficiaries of government transfers (i.e. conditionalities) affects the support of non-beneficiaries in Brazil, and Turkey.

Employing survey experiments in both countries, the authors find out that conditional transfers are only marginally more popular than similar unconditional transfers in nationally representative samples, but that this difference is substantially larger amongst the better-off and amongst those primed to think of themselves as different from beneficiaries. These findings imply that conditionalities per se are not as strong a determinant of support for transfers as the literature suggests, but that they can still be helpful in building support for transfers among subsets of the population that are least likely to support them.