Caryn  Peiffer

Caryn Peiffer

PhD, Political Science
AREA OF RESEARCH: Political Economy of Development, Comparative Politics, African Politics

What draws you to this area of research?

I am drawn to development related research for many reasons. While, the economic divide between developed and developing nations certainly poses important humanitarian questions, I truly feel that it also poses some of the most interesting intellectual problems of our time.

Would you like to collaborate?


Areas for collaboration (research studies, publishing, conference presentations, etc.)

I would love to collaborate with others interested in the same line of research on  research projects.

Would you say your research is Transdisciplinary?


Development related inquiry is inherently transdisciplinary, as it explores the political and economic foundations of development, which can itself be measured in many different ways. For example, my dissertation examines the political and economic foundations of health and education policies in Africa, thus touching on political science, economics and global health studies.

Publications / Presentations


“Foreign Assistance and the Struggle against HIV/AIDS in the Developing World.” (with Constantine Boussalis), Journal of Development Studies (forthcoming, April 2010)


“On the Determinants of HIV/AIDS foreign assistance.”  Comparative Studies in International Development

“Survival models and Authoritarian regime survival in Africa” (with Constantine Boussalis)
Presented at the African Studies Association in November 2009

“Vulnerability and Path Dependence: Exploring Variations in African Democracy Trajectories.” Presented at the African Studies Association in November 2009 (with Pierre Englebert). An earlier draft of this paper was presented at the Semi Annual meeting of WGAPE at UCLA  and for the State Department in April 2009.

“Capable and Willing: Assessing the Impact of Bureaucratic Quality on HIV/AIDS Policy Responses” was presented at the International Studies Association, February 2008 (with Constantine Boussalis).

“Exploring the emergence or presence of an identity political movement among the Dalit in Kerala, India.” Presented at the International Place, University of Claremont McKenna, April 2007 (with Linda Alvarez).

“Vulnerability and Path Dependence: Exploring Variations in African Democracy Trajectories.” (with Pierre Englebert)

“Supra-national and National identity and support for American Integration” (with Constantine Boussalis and Jennifer Merolla), to be presented at Western Political Science Association 2010 meeting.

Future goals as a scholar

My most immediate goals are to do field work in Africa as a part of my dissertation research, finish my dissertation and graduate. Past graduation, I look forward to either becoming a professor in comparative politics or working in development policy.

Must-read books or articles in your field

There are too many to list.

  • One of the best books I have read in a while was "Portfolios of the Poor," by Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford, and Orlando Ruthven. 
  • Also, Pierre Englebert’s "State Legitimacy and Development in Africa and Africa" and "Unity, Sovereignty and Sorrow" are certainly must reads.

Helpful resources at CGU

Faculty members at CGU as well as at the other Claremont Colleges and my fellow classmates.

Helpful resources outside of CGU (blogs, websites, social networking sites, etc. that connect with your areas of research)

I have found conferences particularly helpful in connecting me with people who have similar interests.