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Presented By: Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies

WCED Roundtable. Do Developing Democracies Need Developmental States?

Richard F. Doner, Jessica Gottlieb, Adrienne LeBas, Erin Metz McDonell

WCED Developing Democracies WCED Developing Democracies
WCED Developing Democracies
Panelists: Richard F. Doner, Goodrich C. White Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Emory University; Jessica Gottlieb, associate professor of public affairs, University of Houston; Adrienne LeBas, associate professor of government, American University; Erin Metz McDonell, Notre Dame du Lac and Kellogg Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Notre Dame. Moderator: Dan Slater, WCED Director, U-M.

How can countries best escape both dictatorship and poverty? This roundtable considers whether it is still either possible or desirable for emerging democracies to build the kind of powerful states that have alternatively fostered development and hindered prosperity in the postcolonial world.

Richard F. Doner is Goodrich C. White Professor (Emeritus) in the Department of Political Science at Emory University. Dr. Doner's research focuses on the political and institutional bases of economic development, especially in Southeast Asia. His books include The Politics of Uneven Development: Thailand’s Economic Growth in Comparative Perspective (2009); From Silicon Valley to Singapore: Location and Competitive Advantage in the Hard Disk Drive Industry (with David McKendrick and Stephan Haggard, 2000); and Driving a Bargain: Japanese Firms and Automobile Industrialization in Southeast Asia (1991). Dr. Doner has written or consulted for the World Bank, the International Labor Organization, the Inter-American Development Bank, and business associations in Southeast Asia. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Northeast Thailand and an assembly line worker at General Motors in California.

Jessica Gottlieb is an Associate Professor at the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs and holds a PhD in Political Science and MA in Economics from Stanford University. She is a board member of the Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP) network (2019 - ) and Data Coordinator for the Democratic Erosion Consortium. Her research focuses on the political economy of development, investigating constraints to government accountability and state capacity in new democracies with some newer work on partisan polarization in the US. This work has been published in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, and World Politics, among others.

Adrienne LeBas is an Associate Professor of Government at American University. Prior to joining AU, LeBas was a Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, and Assistant Professor of Political Science and African Studies at Michigan State University. Her research interests include democratic institutions, elections, and political violence. She is the author of the award-winning From Protest to Parties: Party-Building and Democratization in Africa (Oxford University Press, 2011) and articles in the British Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Democracy, Comparative Politics, and elsewhere. LeBas also worked as a consultant for Human Rights Watch in Zimbabwe, where she lived from 2002 to 2003.

Erin Metz McDonnell is a Notre Dame du Lac and Kellogg Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, specializing in Organizational, Political, Cultural, and Development Sociology. Her award-winning work has been published in the American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Socio-Economic Review, and Comparative Political Studies. Her book Patchwork Leviathan: Pockets of Bureaucratic Effectiveness in Developing States (Princeton, 2020) analyzes niches of organizational excellence within otherwise-weak state administrations. Her current research in Ghana explains how organizational effectiveness spreads within states, funded by an NSF CAREER grant. With the World Bank, she has a project analyzing how training can enhance intrinsic motivation in the public sector.

This lecture will be presented in person in 555 Weiser Hall and on Zoom. Webinar registration required at:

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
WCED Developing Democracies WCED Developing Democracies
WCED Developing Democracies

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