Joel D. Barkan is Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.  A specialist on politics and development policy in sub-Saharan Africa, Dr. Barkan served as the Regional Democracy and Governance Advisor for East and Southern Africa to the United States Agency for International Development from 1992 to 1994.   He is currently Senior Consultant on Governance in the Public Sector Reform Unit of the Africa Region at the World Bank, and resident fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC.

            Barkan's knowledge of the politics of developing countries is the result of three decades of teaching, research, and government service.  Since 1966 he has worked in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.  He has also conducted research in rural India.

            Barkan's research focuses on the relationships between central government institutions and society, and include studies of electoral behavior and electoral systems, legislative institutions, civil society, the politics of rural development, decentralization and democratization.   His work has been supported by grants from the Social Science Research Council, the National Science Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development.  He is currently conducting a comparative study on the significance of early elections in countries making the transition from authoritarian to democratic rule.



Department of Political Science

University of Iowa



Barkan received his A.B. from Cornell, and his Ph.D. in political science and African studies from UCLA.  Since that time he has been a visiting faculty member or research fellow at  the University of Dar es Salaam (1973-74), the Institute of Development Studies, Nairobi (1974, 1979-80), le Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, Paris (1978-79), the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi (1984), and Cornell University (1990).  In 1997-98 he was a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.

            Barkan is the author or co-author and editor of four books, the most recent of which is Beyond Capitalism Versus Socialism in Kenya and Tanzania (Lynne Rienner, 1994), a comparative examination of democratization and economic reform in East Africa. He has also contributed articles to the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Democracy, Democratization, the Journal of Modern African Studies, World Politics, and Foreign Affairs.