Prior to joining the Woodrow Wilson Center, Sabet was a Technical Director for Social Impact, where he led and oversaw evaluations of USAID and Millennium Challenge Corporation interventions related to democracy, rights, and governance. Sabet spent four years as an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and he was Founding Director of the Center for Enterprise and Society, a university-based research institution in Bangladesh. He is also author of Police Reform in Mexico (2012, Stanford University Press), Nonprofits and their Networks (2008, Arizona University Press), and Understanding Political Science Research Methods (Routledge, 2013). Throughout his career, his research has focused on corruption, reform, civil society oversight, and institutional change across diverse policy arenas, including procurement, policing, the electricity sector, land use, and citizen security.


Project Summary

Many of Latin America’s major corruption scandals in the last few years have involved procurement corruption. There is no shortage of internal and foreign-aid support reform efforts to address procurement corruption; however, the large amounts of money at stake create strong incentives that overwhelm reform efforts. This research explores three different approaches to increasing accountability in the procurement process, including (1) top down accountability through audits by a central government authority, (2) bottom-up accountability to civil society organizations active in procurement oversight, and (3) accountability to foreign donors and multi-lateral institutions. The research focuses on procurement reform in Honduras, and draws on qualitative research, administrative data, and a panel survey of vendors to the government to explore the influence of these three approaches in the Honduran case. This Honduran experience is contextualized within a larger study of procurement reform throughout Latin America.

Major Publications

Police Reform in Mexico: Informal Politics and the Challenge of Institutional Change. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2012. (Winner of the 2018 Herbert A. Simon Book Award.)
Nonprofits and their Networks: Cleaning the Waters along Mexico’s Northern Border. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. 2008. (Winner of the Association of Borderland Studies’ 2011 Silver Book Award.)
Understanding Political Science Research: The Challenge of Inference. With Maryann Barakso and Brian F. Schaffner. New York: Routledge Press. 2013.