Liam Swiss

Graduate Coordinator, Department of Sociology

Research Interests
Political Sociology, International Development, Gender, Security, World Society, Research Methods
Contact Information
Ph: 709-864-4467
Office: A-4053
Curriculum vitae (CV)
Personal Profile

Liam Swiss researches the political sociology of foreign aid and international development from a comparative perspective using both quantitative and qualitative techniques.

His recently completed 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. 

His current SSHRC Insight Grant, "Developing Conformity: Foreign Aid and the Diffusion of Global Norms", examines how the flow of foreign aid and other forms of development finance from North to South contributes to the spread of common policies, institutions, and norms within developing societies.  He is also co-invesitgator on another SSHRC-funded project on "Canadian Development Cooperation and the new Politics of "Partnership" with several other aid researchers across Canada. 

He is also pursuing and collaborating on other research projects on (1) violence against aid workers, (2) women’s political representation in the developing world, and (3) urban/rural differences in gender ideologies.

He teaches courses in development sociology, political sociology, gender, and research methods.


2016-2017    Senior Research Fellow, Käte Hamburger Kolleg, Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany


Swiss, Liam. 2018. The Globalization of Foreign Aid: Developing Consensus. London: Routledge.

Fallon, Kathleen M., Alissa Mazar, & Liam Swiss (2017). "The Development Benefits of Maternity Leave" World Development. 96: 102-118.

Swiss, Liam (2017). "Foreign Aid Allocation from a Network Perspective: The Effect of Global Ties" Social Science Research. 63: 111-123.

Swiss, Liam (2016). "World Society and the Global Foreign Aid Network" Sociology of Development. 2(4): 342-374.

Swiss, Liam (2016). "A Sociology of Foreign Aid and the World Society" Sociology Compass. 10(1): 65-73.

Swiss, Liam., & Wesley Longhofer (2015). "Membership has its privileges: Shared international organizational affiliation and foreign aid flows, 1978-2010" Social Forces. 94(4): 1769-1793.

Swiss, Liam (2015). "Space for Gender Equality in the Security and Development Agenda? Insights from Three Donors" pp. 188-211 in S. Brown & J. Grävingholt eds. The Securitization of Foreign Aid. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Swiss, Liam and Stephen Brown (2015). "The Aid Orphan Myth" Third World Quarterly. 36(2): 240-256.

Swiss, Liam (2014). "Mimicry and Motives: Canadian Aid Allocation in Longitudinal Perspective” pp. 101-124 in David Black, Stephen Brown and Molly den Heyer eds. Rethinking Canadian Aid: Foundations, Contradictions and Possibilities. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.

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 Analysisof 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.

Other Contacts


Department of Sociology

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000