Edward Aspinall is a Professor in Australian National University's Department of Political and Social Change, whose work has focused on the politics of Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia. James Scambary is a Research Fellow in the same department. He has been researching communal conflict, clientelism and corruption in East Timor for the last decade.

The authors have been collaborating on research about the role of informal networks in voter mobilisation in East Timor that forms part of a multi-country research project on money politics in Southeast Asia.