My forthcoming book Governing Thirdness: State, Society and Non-Binary Identities in Pakistan which will be published by Cambridge University Press represents the combination of my research interest in policy design, implementation, reimagining governance and documentation of citizen and subaltern voices.

Policy Implementation

My research on policy implementation highlights that public policies, especially those targeted at inclusion of marginalized groups, can fail to achieve desired results at the implementation stage due to the group norms and cognitive biases of some frontline workers of the government. My more recent work also analyzes the ways in which citizen-oriented frontline workers of government ensure continued service delivery by doing policy repair to deal with chronic shortage of resources, funds and people.

Selected Publications

  • Masood, A. & Nisar, M. A. Repairing the State: Policy Repair in the Frontline Bureaucracy. Public Administration Review. Forthcoming.
  • Nisar, M. A. (2018). Children of a Lesser God: Administrative Burden and Social Equity in Citizen-State Interactions. Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory28(1), 104-119. [Link]
  • Nisar, M. A. (2018). Phenomenology of the Stop: Street-Level Bureaucracy and Everyday Citizenship of Marginalized Groups. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 86(2), 316-332. [Link]
  • Nisar, M. A., & Maroulis, S. (2017). Foundations of relating: Theory and evidence on the formation of street‐level bureaucrats’ workplace networks. Public Administration Review77(6), 829-839 [Link]

Policy Design

Ranging from work on legal third gender category, maternity leave policies and right to implementation laws, my social policy design research highlights how social, political biases can be inscribed into policies through “hidden politics” and limit their subsequent impact. Such “designed to fail” policies either incur high compliance, learning and cognitive costs on their beneficiaries or do not include meaningful resources for their implementation.

Selected Publications

  • Masood, A., & Nisar, M. A. (2020). Crushed between two stones: Competing institutional logics in the implementation of maternity leave policies in Pakistan. Gender, Work & Organization27(6), 1103-1126. [Link]
  • Nisar, M. A. (2018). (Un)Becoming a Man: Legal Consciousness of the Third Gender Category in Pakistan. Gender & Society32(1), 59-81. [Link]
  • Bashir, M. & Nisar, M. A. (2020). Expectation versus reality: Political expediency and implementation of right to information laws. Public Administration Quarterly. 44(1): 3-30. [Link]
  • Maroulis, S., Diermeier, D., & Nisar, M. A. (2020). Discovery, Dissemination, and Information Diversity in Networked Groups. Social Networks. 61. 67-77. [Link]

Reimagining Governance

I am also work on finding ways to reimagine bureaucracy and administration in a way that facilitates creation of locally responses and public-centered governance regimes. This line of work also focuses on documenting innovative ways to improve government accountability and performance to tackle wicked policy problems.

Selected Publications

  • Nisar, M. A. (2021). Standing in the right corner: From practitioner-centric to public-centered public administration. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 1-4. [Link]
  • Hayter, C. S., & Nisar, M. A. (2018). Spurring Vaccine Development for the Developing World: A Collaborative Governance Perspective on Product Development Partnerships. International Journal of Public Administration41(1), 46-58. [Link]
  • Nisar, M. A. (2020) Practitioner as the Imaginary Father of Public Administration: A Psychoanalytic Critique. Administrative Theory & Praxis. 42(1):44-61. [Link]
  • Nisar, M. A & Masood, A. (2019). Dealing with Disgust: Street-Level Bureaucrats as Agents of Kafkaesque Bureaucracy. Organization. 27(6): 162-173. [Link]

Citizen & Subaltern Voices

My research has been informed by the conviction that meaningful changes in public policy and administration require inclusion of marginalized citizens and voices in academic scholarship. In addition to capturing the experiences of marginalized social groups interacting with government officials, as a scholar from the global south, I have also written about the perils of excluding international voices from policy discourse.

Selected Publications

  • Masood, A., & Nisar, M. A. (2021). Administrative capital and citizens’ responses to administrative burden. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory31(1), 56-72. [Link]
  • Nisar, M. A. (2018). Overcoming resistance to resistance in public administration: Resistance strategies of marginalized publics in citizen‐state interactions. Public Administration and Development38(1), 15-25. [Link]
  • Masood, A. & Nisar, M. A. (2020). A Post-Colonial Critique of the Academic Discourse on Far-Right Populism. Organization. 27(1): 882:899. [Link]
  • Nisar, M. A. (2017). Practitioner envy and construction of the other in public administration. Administration & Society49(10), 1403-1423. [Link]