Steven Samford (PhD, University of New Mexico) joins the Kellogg Institute for the academic year. With research interests in comparative political economy, globalization, and development and a focus on Latin America, he has studied the politics of innovation in low-tech industries in developing countries.
At Kellogg, he will work on the book manuscript “Coproducing Innovation: State-Society Relations and the Production and Diffusion of Technology in Mexico.” Expanding on his dissertation, the research examines how artisanal producers of ceramics, and small producers more generally, grapple with the demanding standards of globalized markets. He explores why some small producers respond with “low road” strategies that undermine wages and working conditions while others take the “high road” to become globally competitive.
Samford’s research, which is based on extensive fieldwork in Mexico, draws on social network and statistical analysis of an original survey and interviews with producers and officials. Preliminary findings focus on optimal ways for state agents and producers to interact, speeding the flow of information about technology and markets and increasing the likelihood of the adoption of new ideas.
Samford will teach an undergraduate political science course while at the Kellogg Institute.