C.V. (pdf)

Current Research Projects

Theme: Africa and Global Governance

  • Marginal? African States and the International Legal System
  • Who Participates? A comparative analysis of state participation in international organization meetings

Theme: China and Africa

  • Who wins? China wires Africa. with Roselyn Hsueh
  • African Hydropower: Does China’s involvement make a difference?

Book Manuscript: “African Power: Coalitions in global economic governance”

My research addresses the question: why do African states sometimes wield influence in global governance and other times do not?  Current approaches to influence tend to focus on activities within a single international organization.  What is not so well understood are the consequences that the variety of and the relationships among international institutions may have for developing country participation in global governance.  This project makes the argument that how global governance is organized around an issue affects the opportunities and constraints states face when they seek to obtain outcomes in global governance.  For African states, I find this crucially determines the viability of coalition strategies.  The project explores the argument by substantively focusing on African state experiences in the areas of food safety, agricultural trade, intellectual property, and foreign investment.  Legal analysis, in-depth interviews with participants in global governance, and secondary literature inform the study.


David K. Leonard, Jennifer N. Brass, Michael Nelson, Sophal Ear, Dan Fahey, Tasha Fairfield, Martha Johnson Gning, Michael Halderman, Brendan McSherry, Devra C. Moehler, Wilson Prichard, Robin Turner, Tuong Vu, Jeroen Dijkman. 2010. “Does Patronage Still Drive Politics for the Rural Poor in the Developing World? A Comparative Perspective from the Livestock Sector.” Development and Change. (p 475-494)

Abstract: Is the analysis of patron–client networks still important to the understanding of developing country politics or has it now been overtaken by a focus on ‘social capital’? Drawing on seventeen country studies of the political environment for livestock policy in poor countries, this article concludes that although the nature of patronage has changed significantly, it remains highly relevant to the ways peasant interests are treated. Peasant populations were found either to have no clear connection to their political leaders or to be controlled by political clientage. Furthermore, communities ‘free’ of patron–client ties to the centre generally are not better represented by political associations but instead receive fewer benefits from the state. Nonetheless, patterns of clientage are different from what they were forty years ago. First, patronage chains today often have a global reach, through trade, bilateral donor governments and international NGOs. Second, the resources that fuel political clientage today are less monopolistic and less adequate to the task of purchasing peasant political loyalty. Thus the bonds of patronage are less tight than they were historically. Third, it follows from the preceding point and the greater diversity of patrons operating today that elite conflicts are much more likely to create spaces in which peasant interests can eventually be aggregated into autonomous associations with independent political significance in the national polity. NGOs are playing an important role in opening up this political space although at the moment, they most often act like a new type of patron.

International Rules, Food Safety, and the Poor Developing Country Livestock Producer.

2005.  PPLPI Working Paper No. 25.  Rome:  FAO.

This study is a part of the PPLPI effort to identify significant political and institutional factors and processes that currently hinder or prevent the poor in developing countries from taking greater advantage of opportunities to benefit from their livestock resources. The rapid development of international sanitary and phytosanitary standards have been identified as an important factor and further research is needed in this area. This study focuses on what can be done to make international rule-making friendlier to poor livestock producer interests.

To identify strategic entry points for those wishing to make international rule-making friendlier to poor livestock producers this study: (a) describes and analyzes the international environment that states and other actors face when seeking to influence international food safety rules; (b) discusses the roles played by states and other actors in creating and enforcing those rules; and (c) analyzes a series of cases involving international rule-making for livestock food products.

Recommendations for making international rule-making friendlier to poor producers consider two perspectives: that of the producer and that of the national delegates participating in the international rule-making process. From the perspective of poor producers and their advocates the primary route to influencing international rule-making is by influencing their own country’s position in international organizations. However, developing country governments are not yet taking full advantage of the options for representing their own interests in international rule-making. Important activities they should engage in include: greater coordination at the national level among ministries and individuals responsible for developing policy positions in all international food safety organizations; improving the quality and quantity of delegations to international organizations; forming alliances with other similarly-situated countries on issues of particular concern; and lobbying for technical assistance to comply with international standards and with a goal of complying with private international standards as well. In general, the study concludes that developing countries can do much more to address the interests of their poor producers.

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“EU Policy-Making:  Reform of the CAP and EU Trade in Beef & Dairy with Developing Countries”

with Michael Halderman.  2005.  PPLPI Working Paper No. 18.  Rome:  FAO.

The present study is part of the PPLPI effort to identify significant political and institutional factors and processes that currently hinder or prevent the poor in developing countries from taking greater advantage of opportunities to benefit from livestock. The study examines the political economy of policy-making concerning trade in livestock and livestock products (LLPs) between the European Union (EU) and developing countries (DCs).

The main objective is to determine and assess how relevant EU policy is made, including the role of key actors and forces both domestic and international. The political economy of relevant LLP trade-related issues are examined at four levels: (a) the EU member state, (b) the European Union itself, (c) the international trading system, and (d) developing countries. Several issues cross, or are relevant to, the different levels of analysis. A related objective is to identify “entry points” and provide strategic recommendations aimed at achieving positive change.

Two livestock commodities, beef and dairy, were selected as central to the study. The EU is a prodigious producer of livestock and livestock products, and it plays a major role in international trade in LLPs. EU subsidies and trade barriers have been the subject of intense criticism by some European Union member states, developed and developing country trading partners, international organizations, academics, advocacy NGOs and others.

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The EU’s CAP, the Doha Round and Developing Countries

Michael Halderman, Independent Consultant, Berkeley; and Michael Nelson, Political Science Doctoral Candidate, University of California, Berkeley.  Institute of European Studies.  Paper 1.  October 20, 2004.

This study analyzes the political economy of European Union policy-making in regard to EU trade in beef and dairy with developing countries. The way the EU makes its agriculture and trade policies involves three levels: the EU member state, the EU itself, and the international trading system. The study also considers a fourth “level,” developing countries, that is affected by EU policy-making. We present criticism from various sources concerning negative international effects of EU agriculture and trade policies.  Recognizing the great range of trade-related interests among developing countries, the study analyzes relevant issues of four categories of such countries. EU trade and agriculture policy is strongly influenced by international factors, particularly by multilateral trade negotiations. Change in relevant EU agriculture and trade policy affecting developing countries has been part of or directly linked to – and in the future will require additional reform of – the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Recent reform of the CAP has been affected by and linked to the current Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations conducted under the auspices of the WTO.


Download:  The EU’s CAP, the Doha Round and Developing Countries