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Liam Swiss

Assistant Professor (Ph.D. McGill University)



Sociological Specialties/Areas of Interest

  • Political Sociology
  • International Development
  • Gender
  • Security
  • World Society
  • Research Methods

Dr. Swiss researches the political sociology of foreign aid and international development from a comparative perspective using both quantitative and qualitative techniques. He has recently completed a project on world society influence on foreign aid policy to explain the convergence of aid policies around issues of gender and security. His recent SSHRC-funded project "The institutionalization of the global foreign aid network, 1960-2008" employed social network analysis and cross-national statistical techniques to analyse the composition and evolution of the global bilateral foreign aid network and examine its relationship to globalization in the developing world. This project will help recast our understanding of aid as a network of relations among countries and expand on overly simplistic views of aid as purely economic transactions or manifestations of donor foreign policy interests. He is also pursuing other research projects on (1) the securitisation of Canadian foreign aid policy, (2) violence against aid workers, and (3) women’s political representation in the developing world. He teaches courses in development sociology, political sociology, gender, and research methods.


Selected Publications

Jones, Robert C., and Liam Swiss (2014). "Gendered Leadership: The Effects of Female Development Agency Leaders on Foreign Aid Spending" Sociological Forum. 29(3): 571-586.

Anderson, Miriam J., and Liam Swiss (2014). "Peace Accords and the Adoption of Electoral Quotas for Women in the Developing World, 1990-2006" Politics and Gender. 10(1): 33-61. 

Brown, Stephen, and Liam Swiss (2013). “The Hollow Ring of Donor Commitment: Country Concentration and the Decoupling of Aid Effectiveness Norms from Donor Practice” Development Policy Review. 31(6): 737-755.

Swiss, Liam, Kathleen M. Fallon, and Giovani Burgos. (2012). “Does Critical Mass Matter? Women's Political Representation and Child Health in Developing Countries” Social Forces. 91(2): 531-558.

Fallon, Kathleen M., Liam Swiss, and Jocelyn Viterna. (2012). “Resolving the Democracy Paradox: Democratization and Women’s Legislative Representation in Developing Nations, 1975-2009” American Sociological Review.77(3): 380-408.

Swiss, Liam. (2012). “Gender, Security, and Instrumentalism: Canada’s Foreign Aid in Support of National Interest?”  pp. 135-153 in Stephen Brown, ed. Struggling for Effectiveness: CIDA and Canadian Aid Policy. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Swiss, Liam. (2012). "The Adoption of Women and Gender as Development Assistance Priorities: An Event History Analysis of World Polity Effects" International Sociology. 27(1): 96-119.

Swiss, Liam. (2011). "Security Sector Reform and Development Assistance: Explaining the Diffusion of Policy Priorities Among Donor Agencies" Qualitative Sociology. 34(2): 371-393.

Swiss, Liam. (2009). “Decoupling Values from Action: An Event-History Analysis of the Election of Women in the Developing World 1945-1990” International Journal of Comparative Sociology. 50(1): 69-95.

Swiss, Liam, and Céline Le Bourdais. (2009). “Father-Child Contact after Separation: The Influence of Living Arrangements” Journal of Family Issues. 30 (5): 623-652.