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Rachel Sigman, Ph.D.

Contact Info

(831) 656-3985
Office Address:
Glasgow Hall, Room 397

Assistant Professor

Expertise: Comparative Politics, Political Economy of Development, Sub-Saharan Africa


Rachel Sigman joined the faculty of the Department of National Security Affairs in September 2015 after having received her PhD in Political Science from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.  Her research focuses on the relationship between political regimes and state institutions in sub-Saharan Africa. At NPS she teaches courses on political economy, African politics and development. Sigman’s book project examines the evolution of varying modes of political party financing in African democracies and the effects of these party finance systems on state bureaucratic institutions. Drawing on survey, interview and archival data she collected in Benin and Ghana, the project shows how the logics of party financing shape the types of patronage that political leaders employ, and how these patronage practices affect the composition of performance of the state’s bureaucratic apparatus. Sigman also works on the conceptualization and measurement of key concepts in comparative politics.  She has worked extensively on a project to develop new measures of state capacity and collaborates with the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg on the development and validation of new indices of democracy.  Sigman’s research has been funded by the Smith Richardson Foundation and the Moynihan Institute of International Affairs. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Sigman conducted Fulbright-funded research on the implementation of Madagascar’s National Environmental Action Plan, led a needs assessment survey for the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California and worked on state and national political campaigns.

Teaching Interests: 

Comparative Economic Systems

Political Economy of Development

Government and Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa

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