Melani C. Cammett Professor of Political Science

Melani Cammett is Professor of Political Science, a faculty fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies, and a faculty associate at the Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University. During 2013-2014, she was a Takemi Fellow in International Health at the Harvard School of Public Health with the support of a New Directions Fellowship of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She specializes in the political economy of development and the Middle East and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on comparative politics, development, and Middle East politics, among other topics. Cammett's first book, Globalization and Business Politics in North Africa: A Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2007) examines how global economic integration affects state-business relations and industrial development, focusing on Morocco and Tunisia. Her second book, Compassionate Communalism: Welfare and Sectarianism in Lebanon (Cornell University Press, 2014), explores how sectarian organizations allocate social welfare goods. The book is based on extensive research in Lebanon with additional case studies of organizations in Iraq and India. An article based on this research won the 2011 Alexander L. George Award of the Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research Section of the American Political Science Association. Cammett's co-edited book, The Politics of Non-State Social Welfare in the Global South (Cornell University Press, 2014), examines the political consequences of non-state welfare provision n diverse regions. Her current research focuses on public and social goods provision by Islamists and other types of public and private actors in several Middle Eastern countries. Cammett has published articles in the Annual Review of Political Science, Comparative Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, the International Journal for Equity in Health, Studies in Comparative International Development, World Development, World Politics, and other scholarly journals. Cammett holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley and a M.A. from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and has consulted for various development policy organizations.

Research Areas

scholarly work

"Is There an Islamist Political Advantage?" In Annual Review of Political Science, vol. 17(May/June 2014). (With Pauline Jones Luong)

"Epilogue: A Political Economy of the Arab Uprisings." A Political Economy of the Middle East. Third ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, forthcoming 2013. (With Ishac Diwan.) Abridged versions reprinted in Arabic in Kalamon Al-Thaqafiyya (Fall 2013), Le Monde Diplomatique/Al-Khaleej (October 2013) and Le Monde Diplomatique/Al-Ahram (Sept. 28, 2013).

"Using Proxy Interviewing to Address Sensitive Topics." In Layna Mosley, ed., Interviewing in Political Science. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013.

"Informal Politics and Access to Health Care in Lebanon." In International Journal for Equity in Health. 11, no. 23(2012): 1-8. (With Bradley Chen)

"Power-Sharing in Post-Conflict Societies: Implications for Peace and Governance." In Journal of Conflict Resolution 56, no. 6 (December 2012): 982-1016. (With Edmund Malesky)

"Introduction: The Political Consequences of Non-State Social Welfare in the Global South." Article in special issue of Studies in Comparative International Development on "Non-State Actors, States and Citizens and the Provision of Social Welfare in the Global South." 46, no. 1(Spring 2011): 1-21. (With Lauren Morris MacLean)

"Partisan Activism and Access to Welfare in Lebanon." Article in special issue of Studies in Comparative International Development on Non-State Actors, States and Citizens and the Provision of Social Welfare in the Global South." 46, no. 1(Spring 2011): 70-97.

"Labor Standards and Labor Flexibility in the Middle East: Freer Trade and Freer Unions?" In Studies in Comparative International Development 45, no. 2(Summer 2010). (With Marsha Pripstein Posusney)

"Bricks and Mortar Clientelism: The Political Geography of Welfare in Lebanon." In World Politics 62, no. 3(July 2010). (With Sukriti Issar)

"Business-Government Relations and Industrial Change: The Politics of Upgrading in Morocco and Tunisia." In World Development 35, no. 11(2007): 1889-1903.

Globalization and Business Politics in Arab North Africa: A Comparative Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

"Development and the Changing Dynamics of Global Production: Global Value Chains and Local Clusters in Apparel Manufacturing." In Competition and Change 10, no. 1(March 2006): 23-48.

"Fat Cats and Self-Made Men: Globalization and the Paradoxes of Collective Action." In Comparative Politics 37, no. 4(July 2005): 379-400.

"International Exposure, Domestic Response: Financiers, Weavers and Garment Manufacturers in Morocco and Tunisia." In Arab Studies Journal 7, no. 2/8, no. 1(Fall 1999/Spring 2000): 26-51.

"Defensive Integration and Late Developers: The Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab Maghreb Union." In Global Governance 5, no. 3(July-September 1999): 379-402.

research overview

Melani Cammett's research interests include comparative politics and political economy (development, social welfare, institutional change, business-government relations), public health, methodology (research design and qualitative methods), and Middle Eastern and North African politics.

research statement

Melani Cammett's second book, Compassionate Communalism: Welfare and Sectarianism in Lebanon (Cornell University Press, 2014), focuses on the politics of welfare in divided societies. In particular, the book compares the welfare allocation strategies of multiple Islamist and sectarian parties, focusing on health care, schooling and short-term material assistance in Lebanon. Brief case studies Iraq and India extend the analyses to other countries in the Middle East and South Asia. The research for the book was supported by grants from the Smith Richardson Foundation, U.S. Institute of Peace, Academy Scholars Program of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, and Salomon Faculty Research Grant at Brown University. The research entailed extensive primary data collection in Lebanon, including survey and archival research, GIS analysis, and in-depth interviews with government officials, representatives from international organizations, local social service providers, and beneficiaries of social service programs. An article based on this research won the 2011 Alexander L. George Award of the Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research Section of the American Political Science Association.

Cammett's co-edited volume (with Lauren Morris MacLean), The Politics of Non-State Social Welfare (Cornell University Press, 2014), examines the political consequences of social welfare provision by diverse types of international and domestic actors, including for-profit firms, NGOs, religious charities, political parties, communal groups, informal brokers and family networks, among others. Cammett and MacLean develop an analytical framework for assessing the effects of non-state welfare provision on access to services, experiences of citizenship, and state capacity and evaluate the framework in light of empirical evidence from chapters in the volume on distinct provider types from countries in diverse global regions.

Cammett's first book, "Globalization, Business Politics and Development: North Africa in Comparative Perspective" (Cambridge University Press, 2007) examines how integration in global manufacturing chains reshapes business politics in developing countries, situating Morocco and Tunisia in broader comparative perspective. This project received support from the Social Science Research Council, the American Institute for Maghrib Studies and U.C. Berkeley.

Cammett has also published work on a diverse array of topics in numerous scholarly and policy-oriented journals.

funded research

• New Directions Fellowship, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2013-2014)
• Takemi Fellow in International Health, Harvard School of Public Health (2013-2014)
• Dupee Faculty Fellow, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University (2012-2013)
• 2011 Alexander L. George Award, Section on Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, American Political Science Association.
• "Health and Social Protection in Weak States: Comparative Research on the Middle East," International Research on Public Health Seed Grant, Office of International Affairs, Brown University (2010-2011)
• Junior Faculty Research Grant, International Security and Foreign Policy Program, Smith Richardson Foundation (2007-2008)
• Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies Scholarship, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University (2005-2006, 2007-2008)
• United States Institute of Peace Grant (September 2005-June 2007)
• Faculty Research Grant, Department of Political Science, Brown University (2004-2005)
• Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Award, Brown University (2004-2005)
• Faculty Research Grant, Department of Political Science, Brown University (2003-2004)
• Simpson Fellowship for Research in International and Comparative Studies, Institute for International Studies, University of California, Berkeley (2001-2002)
• Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship (1999-2000)
• American Institute for Maghrib Studies Dissertation Grant (1999-2000)
• Social Science Research Council International Predissertation Fellowship Program Fellowship (1997-1998)
• Distinction, Comparative Politics Qualifying Examination, U.C. Berkeley (March 1997)
• The Berkeley Fellowship (1995-1997, 2000-2001)
• Fulbright IIE Fellowship, Jordan (1994-1995)
• Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship, Arabic language study (1993-1994)
• Program on Southwest Asia and Islamic Studies Grant, The Fletcher School (Summer 1993)
• Fletcher School Fellowship (1992-1993)