Anderson’s scholarly and teaching expertise is in the study of democracy and democratic development in previously-authoritarian settings outside the United States. Her research has focused upon Latin America; her teaching focuses upon Latin America, Europe and Africa. She can help policymakers understand why democracy is not functioning better in Latin America and has many ideas about how the United States could assist specific countries to become more democratic. U.S. assistance needs to go toward fortifying party competition and toward improving electoral fairness. Anderson has a long history of involvement with civic groups that support democratic development in Latin America, such as sister city projects.
Speaks to International Relations and comparative politics by suggesting that, under sequencing conditions that grant political autonomy first, local government can be democratic and can be an effective recipient for aid. Explores the Nicaraguan case where these conditions prevailed to show how this scenario can unfold.