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Amy R. Poteete

Associate Professor, Political Science
Co-Director, Loyola Sustainability Research Centre (LSRC)

Dr.Amy Poteete's research explores the politics surrounding natural resources,decentralization-centralization, development, and elections in Africa. Another strand of writing concerns methodological issues. She is the coauthor, with Marco A. Janssen and Elinor Ostrom, of Working Together: Collective Action, the Commons, and Multiple Methods in Practice(Princeton University Press), which has been translated into Chinese, Spanish,and Portuguese. She received the Dudley Seers Memorial Prize for best article in volume 45 of the Journal of Development Studies for her article, “Is Development Path Dependent or Political?A Reinterpretation of Mineral-Dependent Development in Botswana” (April 2009). Other publications include chapters in edited volumes and articles in a variety of journals, including African Affairs, Development and Change, Electoral Studies, the Journal of Development Studies, the Journal of Modern African Studies, and World Development. Her early work analyzed the role of national bureaucracies in natural resource policy implementation. Dr. Poteete’s current research has two main themes. One investigates whether and how spatial and temporal variation in electoral competition influences state interventions that affect natural resource management - and the quality of democracy more generally – in Botswana and Senegal. Another considers the implications of changes in global markets for diamonds and domestic political dynamics for long-term socio-economic development in Botswana. She also has a longstanding interest in the study of distributional issues and the potential for political empowerment through collective action, participatory policy processes, and decentralization.


PhD (Duke University)

Research interests

Politics of development and change, African politics, natural resources, electoral and party politics, decentralization

Research affiliations

Loyola Sustainability Research Centre

Assemblée nationale du Sénégal
Photo credit: A. Poteete
Absentee voting for Senegalese legislative elections of 2012 in Montreal
Photo credit: A. Poteete
Voter registration poster, Botswana, 2014
Photo credit: A. Poteete

Teaching activities

POLI 327            Comparative Democratization

POLI 366            Politics of Africa

POLI 410            Environmental Policies in the Developing World

POLI 487D          Decentralization and Development

POLI 601/844      Research Design
POLI 636/805      Theories of Public Policy and Public Administration
POLI 683            Development Policy and Administration

Selected Publications


Poteete, Amy R., Marco Janssen, and Elinor Ostrom. 2010. Working Together: Collective Action and the Commons, and Multiple Methods in Practice. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


Poteete, Amy R. 2019. "Electoral Competition, Clientelism, and Responsiveness to Fishing Communities in Senegal," African Affairs, 118, no. 470 (Jan): 24-48.

Poteete, Amy R. 2012. “Electoral Competition, Factionalism, and Persistent Party Dominance in Botswana,” Journal of Modern African Studies 50, no. 1 (March): 75 – 102. doi: 10.1017/S0022278X11000619

Poteete, Amy R. and Jesse C. Ribot. 2011. “Repertoires of Domination: Decentralization as Process in Botswana and Senegal.” World Development 39, no. 3 (March): 439-449.

Poteete, Amy R. 2009. "Is Development Path Dependent or Political? A Reinterpretation of Mineral-Dependent Development in Botswana," Journal of Development Studies 45, no.4 (April): 544 - 571. Recipient of the Dudley Seers Memorial Prize recognizing the best article published in the Journal during 2009 (Volume 45).

Poteete, Amy R. 2009. "Defining Political Community and Rights to Natural Resources in Botswana," Development and Change 40, no.2 (March): 281 - 305. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-7660.2009.01515.x

Poteete, Amy R. and Elinor Ostrom. 2008. “Fifteen Years of Empirical Research on Collective Action in Natural Resource Management: Struggling to Build Large-N Databases Based on Qualitative Research,” World Development 36, no. 1 (January): 176 - 195.]

Poteete, Amy R. and Elinor Ostrom. 2004. "In Pursuit of Comparable Concepts and Data about Collective Action." Special issue on "Methods for Studying Collective Action in Rural Development," Agricultural Systems 82, no. 3 (December): 215 – 232.

Poteete, Amy R. and Elinor Ostrom. 2004. "Heterogeneity, Group Size and Collective Action: The Role of Institutions in Forest Management," Development and Change 35, no. 3 (June): 437 – 461.

Poteete, Amy R. and David Welch. 2004. "Institutional Development in the Face of Complexity: Constructing Systems for Managing Forest Resources," Human Ecology 32, no. 3 (June): 279 - 311.


Poteete, Amy R. 2019. "The Capacity of Decentralization to Promote Democracy and Development in Africa," In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. New York: Oxford University Press.

Poteete, Amy R., Bashi Mothusi,and Daniel Molaodi. 2014. “Decentralization in Botswana: Political and Economic Obstacles to Democratic Decentralization,” pp. 23 – 43 in J. Tyler Dickovick and James Wunsch, eds., Decentralization in Africa: The Paradox of State Strength. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Poteete, Amy R.  2013. “The Absence of Inter-Group Violence in Botswana: An Assessment of the Role of Development Strategies,” pp. 183 – 219 in William Ascher and Natalia Mirovitskaya, eds., Economic Roots of Conflict and Cooperation in Africa. Palgrave Macmillan.

Poteete, Amy R. 2010. “Analyzing the Politics of Natural Resources: From Theories of Property Rights to Institutional Analysis and Beyond,” pp. 57 - 79 in Ismael Vaccaro, Eric Alden Smith, and Shankar Aswani, eds., Environmental Social Sciences: Methods and Research Design. Cambridge,UK: Cambridge University Press.

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