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.
In the News
Explores how Nicaragua's democratic breakdown might have been avoided had the right united with a viable, attractive electoral platform. Uses experimental research to pinpoint what electoral platform would have received widespread electoral support and allowed the right to defeat Daniel Ortega.
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.
Considers how well (or how inadequately) the Madisonian institutional system copied from the United States serves as a blueprint for democratic transition in new democracies. Finds in formerly authoritarian societies where civil society is weak and social trust low, institutions may be the best resource for democratization. Considers how the system of a bicameral legislature and a separately-elected executive was not originally designed to spearhead the movement from authoritarianism to democracy so it is an adequate but imperfect solution which accounts both for Argentina's democratization and the limits to its democratic progress.