University of Pittsburgh
August 9, 2009

Pitt Political Science Professor Awarded $685,000 Grant to Evaluate USAID's Political Party Program

Scott Morgenstern and his research team will update and evaluate USAID's work in supporting political party development worldwide
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Scott Morgenstern, associate professor of political science in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Political Science in the School of Arts and Sciences, recently received a $685,000 grant from Higher Education for Development funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to update and evaluate USAID's work in supporting political party development worldwide.

As part of its overall goal of building democracy in countries throughout the world, USAID began in 1991 to fund programs aimed at strengthening political parties. Morgenstern and his research team will evaluate USAID programs by conducting eight to 12 case studies in selected countries to assess how well they achieved their goals.

"We are thrilled about working on this important project," said Morgenstern, whose expertise is in comparative politics, political institutions, and political parties. "It combines our academic interests with USAID's experience to develop practical approaches for aiding political party development around the world."

Specifically, the team will develop a conceptual framework for party and party system development, examine party and party system requirements under different situations, and evaluate the effectiveness of USAID programs. The goal is to help guide future USAID political party programs by providing them with an analytical tool to determine needs and evaluate programs.

Morgenstern has conducted research throughout Latin America, Spain, Israel, and Canada. He earned a BA degree in political science and economics at Occidental College in 1985 and an MA and PhD degrees in political science at the University of California, San Diego in 1993 and 1996, respectively.

Morgenstern is author of "Patterns of Legislative Politics: Roll Call Voting in the United States and Latin America's Southern Cone" (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and coeditor of and contributor to "Legislative Politics in Latin America" (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and "Pathways to Power" (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008).

His articles and book chapters include "Party Nationalization and Institutions" with Stephen Swindle and Andrea Castagnola, in "Journal of Politics," forthcoming; "Are Politics Local? An Analysis of Voting Patterns in 23 Democracies," with Stephen Swindle, in 2005 in "Comparative Political Studies;" and "Campaigning in an Electoral Authoritarian Regime: The Case of Mexico," with Joy Langston, in 2009 in "Comparative Politics."

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