Aaron Schneider

Aaron Schneider is Professor of International Studies at the University of Denver. His work focuses on the intersection of wealth and power, and he has conducted research in Latin America, India, and Sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, he emphasizes the study of public finance as a window into the political economy of development and democracy. The way governments secure contributions from key social groups and how states decide what to do with the money tells a story about the nature of national political communities – who is in, who is out, and who will enjoy what benefits of membership. His main ongoing enterprise is a comparative project on the boom-bust pattern of development in India and Brazil, in which periods of growth, inclusion, and democracy in middle powers are repeatedly punctuated by slowdown, worsening inequality, and democratic decline.

Selected publications

Recent Books:

2018. Renew Orleans? Globalized Development and Worker Resistance after Katrina. University of Minnesota Press

2017. State-Building and Tax Regimes in Central America. Cambridge


Recent Peer-Reviewed Articles:

2019. “Uneven and Combined: Embraer and Leading Sectors in Brazil” Tempos do Desenvolvimento 90: 3: 1-23.

2019. with Michael Tyburski and Patrick Egan “Deep Determinants of Corruption? A Subnational Analysis of Resource Curse Dynamics in American States” Political Research Quarterly 139: 4: 1-15.

2017. “Democratic Deepening and International Insertion: The Fragile Rise of Brazil” Revista Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales. 2: 61-90.

2016. “Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, Collectivism, and Everything in Between” Public Administration Review. 71: 3: 421-431.

2015. Co-Editor of Special Journal and Co-Author of “Introduction: Special Issue on Social Science Methodology: A Necessary Updating” Revista Debates. 9: 1 (April).

2014. “Political Economy of Brazilian Tax: Patterns of Incorporation and Political Institutions in Brazil” Jindal Journal of Public Policy. 2: 1: 39-70.

2013. “Critical Dialogue: Aaron Schneider and Gerald M. Easter on State-Building and Tax Regimes in Central America and Capital, Coercion and Postcommunist States” Perspectives on Politics. 11: 4: 1180-82.

2012. “Work, New Orleans, and the Global Shipbuilding Regime” Work, Organization, Labor, and Globalization 6: 2: 140-151.


Research Project as CALAS Fellow:

Title: Why Emerging Powers don’t Emerge: Boom and Bust in Brazil and India

Abstract: Less than a decade ago, emerging markets like Brazil and India appeared to be turning the corner – high rates of growth, increasing shares of global trade, and rising status in international institutions. The investor-coined label, BRICS, summed up the exuberance. Yet, such periods of exuberance were not new for developing countries, as rapid growth had characterized spurts in the 1940s and 1970s. Yet, following each boom, sudden and apparently surprising busts ensued. In short, every few decades, countries like Brazil and India experience a period of rapid growth only to be struck by debilitating crisis. This project asks why developing countries, especially large, regionally-important, and seemingly fast-growing middle powers, suffer repeated patterns of boom and bust?

Of further interest, why do periods of economic bust appear to coincide with periods of social and political malaise? In both Brazil and India, middle-class and upper-class outrage at corruption and distribution (and thinly veiled racism, communalism, and misogyny) was manipulated into support for neo-fascist political projects. In India, the Narendra Modi has won landslide elections with a combination of neoliberal and Hindu nationalist appeals, stoking violence and prejudice against Muslims, lower castes, and indigenous Indians. In Brazil. Jair Bolsonaro rode to power with his combination of “bala, boi, e biblia” (bullets, cattle, and bible), a coalition of anti-crime law and order, agribusiness, and social-conservative evangelicals. Why do bust periods coincide with democratic decline, and what can be done to recuperate the promising path of democratic and social inclusion that both India and Brazil flirted with in prior decades?