Faculty and Research

Amy Poteete

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Associate Professor
PhD, Duke University


Office: H 1225-49
Telephone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 3486
E-mail: amy.poteete@concordia.ca

Dr. Amy Poteete's research explores interactions between political competition, policy, and political development in the context of policies for natural resource management and decentralization in Africa. Her early work analyzed the role of bureaucratic and local-level elections in the implementation of natural resource policies in Botswana. Dr. Poteete’s more recent work investigates development and change in countries where a single political party has exercised dominance for extended periods. The Social Sciences and Humanities Council (SSHRC) of Canada has provided support for an ongoing investigation of whether and how spatial and temporal variation in electoral competition influences policies for natural resource management and decentralization  - and the quality of democracy more generally – in Botswana, Tanzania, and Senegal. 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. Another strand of writing, on methodological practices and the practical challenges of research design, is informed by her experiences conducting field research in Botswana and working with the International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI) research program. Dr. Poteete is a member of the board of the IPSA Research Committee on Concepts and Methods (2006 to the present).

Curriculum vitae



POLI 327              Comparative Democratization

POLI 366              Politics of Africa

POLI 487L            Environmental Policies in the Developing World

POLI 487X            Decentralization and Development

POLI 601/844       Research Design

POLI 636/805       Theories of Public Policy and Public Administration


Selected Publications

  • 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: A Comparative Perspective. 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. 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. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2010.09.013]
  • Poteete, Amy R. 2010. “Analyzing the Politics of Natural Resources: From Theories of Property Rights to Institutional Analysis and Beyond,” in Ismael Vaccaro, Eric Alden Smith, and Shankar Aswani, eds., Environmental Social Sciences: Methods and Research Design. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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," edited by Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Monica Di Gregorio and Nancy McCarthy,  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.


Research Affiliations



Concordia University