Maria Klara Kuss


PhD fellow

Research group(s):
7. Social Protection
4. Governance and institutions

Political Economy, Development, Social Protection & Gender

Maria Klara Kuss is a PhD fellow in Public Policy and Policy Analysis at the United Nations University MERIT’s Graduate School of Governance – supervised by Allister J McGregor (Sheffield), Mark Bevir (UC Berkeley), and Franziska Gassmann (Maastricht). Her PhD research is interdisciplinary in nature and draws on anthropological and sociological approaches to public policy analysis. It analyses the de facto negotiations of Zambia’s welfare regime with a focus on the transformative impacts of social cash transfers. This research evolved from her earlier work as Research Officer at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex (UK) where she was part of a UNICEF-funded research project on the views, experiences and perceptions of social cash transfer recipients and their communities in Zambia. Moreover, it builds on her practical experience in living and working in Zambia, gained through her involvement as a gender advisor for the GIZ.

Maria Klara holds a Master’s degree in Governance and International Development from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex (UK) and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Applied Sciences Wuerzburg (Germany). She has worked with numerous national and international organisations (including INCLUDE/NWO, UNICEF, OECD, UNIFEM and GIZ) conducting research, consultancy and advisory work in social protection, change and continuity, poverty, rural livelihoods and gender in Zambia, Uganda, Panama and other developing countries. Her expertise includes: designing and conducting qualitative research, combining quantitative, qualitative and participatory methods; fieldwork and supervision of local fieldwork teams, policy advice and evaluation work; project management; workshop facilitation, and teaching.


Full CV




Selected publications by Maria Klara Kuss


UNU-MERIT Working Papers
Kuss, Maria Klara, Patrick Llewellin & Franziska Gassmann, 2018, The economic impacts of a social pension on recipient households with unequal access to markets in Uganda, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2018-006
Kuss, Maria Klara, Franziska Gassmann & Firminus Mugumya, 2018, The relevance of local structures for economic multiplier effects of social pensions in Uganda, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2018-004


External working papers
Kuss, Maria Klara, 2015, The Prospects and Politics of Social Protection Reform in Zambia, IDS Working Paper 453, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, awarded with Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) Publication Grant, More information


Research reports
Institute of Development Studies, IDS & Maria Klara Kuss, 2014, The Wider Impacts of Social Protection: Child Grant Study Findings: Rounds 1 and 2, April 2014, Final Draft Report, In Association with RuralNet Associates Limited; the Platform for Social Protection, Department for Development Studies, University of Zambia, Lusaka: Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, Government of Zambia (IDS Research Officer), More information
Institute of Development Studies, IDS & Maria Klara Kuss, 2014, The Wider Impacts of Social Protection: Report on the 10% Inclusive SCT: Kalomo, Monze and Choma, Final Draft Report, In Association with RuralNet Associates Limited; the Platform for Social Protection, Department for Development Studies, University of Zambia,Lusaka: Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, Government of Zambia (IDS Research Officer), More information
Schultze-Kraft, M., M. Rew & Maria Klara Kuss, 2014, How does state fragility affect rural development? Evidence from Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, Nepal and Bolivia, Eschborn: German Development Cooperation GIZ (Research Assistant), More information
Schultze-Kraft, M., M. Rew & Maria Klara Kuss, 2014, What works for rural development in fragile states? Evidence from Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, Nepal and Bolivia, Eschborn: German Development Cooperation GIZ, More information
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development , OECD & Maria Klara Kuss, 2013, Building Tax Culture, Compliance and Citizenship: A Global Source Book on Taxpayer Education, Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD (Research Assistant), More information


Conference contributions
Kuss, Maria Klara, 2021, Profound clashes of beliefs: social protection policy processes in Zambia, Paper presented at the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) International Conference, Online, 10 March 2021
Kuss, Maria Klara, 2020, Extending Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Social Policy in Developing Countries, International Workshop co-convened, organised and chaired, together with Andrew Fischer, María Gabriela Palacio Ludeña, and Hayley Jones, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague, 10-11 February 2020
Kuss, Maria Klara, 2020, The limitation of technocratic narratives: a bottom-up perspective on social protection policy processes in Zambia, Paper presented at International Workshop, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague, 11 February 2020
Kuss, Maria Klara, 2019, Understanding Social Protection as Technologies of Social Ordering and Reproduction within Contemporary Development, Panel co-convened and chaired, together with María Gabriela Palacio Ludena, Hayley Jones, and Andrew Fischer, at the Development Studies Association 2019 International Conference, Milton Keynes, 20 June 2019
Kuss, Maria Klara, 2019, Implementing social protection in rural Zambia: why the transformative expectations remain unfulfilled, Paper presented at Development Studies Association 2019 International Conference, Milton Keynes, 20 June 2019
Kuss, Maria Klara, 2018, The deep politics of social protection: Understanding the transformative implications of SCTs for the perceptions of social justice, Paper presented at the 16th Development Dialogue 2018 International Conference, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague, 2 November 2018, awarded with ISS Conference Participation Grant
Kuss, Maria Klara, 2018, The local politics of social protection in Zambia, Paper presented at Development Studies Association 2018 International Conference, Manchester, 28 June 2018
Kuss, Maria Klara, 2018, The Constructivism of Welfare Regimes: Understanding the Emergence of Social Protection Policies, Paper presented at Political Studies Association 2018 International Conference, Cardiff, 28 March 2018
Kuss, Maria Klara, 2017, Who decides who gets the money and why? The political settlement of Social Cash Transfers in Zambia, Paper presented at Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management 2017 International Conference, Brussels, 13 July 2017
Mugumya, Firminus, Maria Klara Kuss & Franziska Gassmann, 2017, Beyond aggregate measures: Exploring the impact of local structures on economic multipliers of social pensions in Uganda, Paper presented at Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management 2017 International Conference, Brussels, 14 July 2017
Llewellin, Paddy & Maria Klara Kuss, 2017, Zooming in: Market access and livelihood impacts of Uganda’s Senior Citizens Grant, Paper presented at Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management 2017 International Conference, Brussels, 14 July 2017
Kuss, Maria Klara, 2016, Towards an understanding of the political settlement of social cash transfers in Zambia, Presentation at SAIPAR Annual Research Conference 2016, Lusaka, 30 June 2016
Kuss, Maria Klara, 2016, The issue of ‘viability’ in Zambia’s Social Protection system, Presentation at Round Table Discussion with Key Informants, Lusaka, 5 August, 2016, awarded with German Development Cooperation (GIZ) Grant


Briefs
Kuss, Maria Klara & Franziska Gassmann, 2018, The Economic Impacts of Social Cash Transfers in Integrated and Remote Areas in Uganda, UNU Policy Brief, Number 1, 2018, More information
Kuss, Maria Klara & Paddy Llewellin, 2016, Social Cash Transfers as Economic Investments: Contextualising the Transmission Channels between Uganda’s Senior Citizens Grant and Economic Growth, UNU Policy Brief No. 1, More information


Other (editorship, media appearance, keynote, etc.)
Kuss, Maria Klara, 2018, Who decides who gets social protection?, BLISS blog, The Hague: International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), More information
Kuss, Maria Klara, Edith Vos & Hannah Grijns, 2018, Reposted blog article - Why contextualising the transmission channels from social pensions to economic growths matters, UNU-MERIT blog reposted on INCLUDE Platform, Leiden: INCLUDE Secretariat, More information
Kuss, Maria Klara, Edith Vos & Hannah Grijns, 2018, Why contextualising the transmission channels from social pensions to economic growths matters, UNU-MERIT blog, Maastricht: UNU-MERIT and Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University, More information
Kuss, Maria Klara, 2018, An interactive and in-depth approach to policy analysis: Analysing social protection policy processes in Zambia, Guest lecture in the Social Protection Specialisation, Maastricht: UNU-MERIT and Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University
Kuss, Maria Klara, 2017, Re: How do political economy factors explain differences in the integration of social protection programmes in national social and development policies in African countries?, INCLUDE Online discussion, Leiden: INCLUDE Secretariat, More information
Kuss, Maria Klara & Miguel A Rivera Quinones, 2017, Rising-up not blown away: Re-builidng Puerto Rico from the ground up, IDS blog, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, More information
Kuss, Maria Klara & Anthony Kadoma, 2016, Experiences from piloting qualitative research tools in Kyenjojo district in Uganda, UNU-MERIT blog, Maastricht: UNU-MERIT and Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University, More information


UNU-MERIT