Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Nitsan Chorev

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Nitsan Chorev

Director, Graduate Program in Development
Harmon Family Professor of Sociology and International & Public Affairs


Nitsan Chorev is the Harmon Family Professor of Sociology and International & Public Affairs and the Director of the Graduate Program in Development (GPD).

Chorev’s current research is focused on access to medicines in East Africa. She looks both at the politics of imported medicines – today, these medicines come mostly from India – and at the politics of local manufacturing. She is particularly interested in identifying the role foreign aid has been playing in both advancing and inhibiting local pharmaceutical production in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Chorev is the author of The World Health Organization between North and South (Cornell University Press, 2012), Remaking U.S. Trade Policy: From Protectionism to Globalization (Cornell University Press, 2007), and numerous articles. She is also the co-editor of The Globalization and Development Reader (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014, with J. Timmons Roberts and Amy Bellone Hite).

Chorev was formerly a member at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and a fellow at the UCLA International Institute. 


Making Medicines for Africa: The Transnational Origins of Local Production

Access to medicines is one of the most pressing issues facing poor countries, especially those suffering from high prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS. A major debate among health experts is whether local pharmaceutical production in industrializing countries may hinder or help achieve the goal of improved access to medicines. At its core, the debate is over the possibility of pockets of successful industrialization in countries that are not fully industrialized.

This project contributes to this debate by looking at the experience of local drug manufacturers in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. I look at the conditions that allowed pharmaceutical sectors to emerge in East Africa in the 1980s/1990s and the conditions that made some of the local firms improve their quality standards in the 2000s. I compare this experience to the more successful cases of India, where many of the drugs in East Africa come from, and China. I conclude that pockets of industrialization are possible in spite of local difficulties because of particular – and often quite controversial - types of transnational links.

Current Projects

Access to Medicines in the Global South

Re-Examining Global Policy Agendas via Interactive, South-Initiated North-South Dialogues

Global Governance and Transnational Civil Society


“Professionals and the Professions in the Global South: An Introduction” Sociology of Development. 2017. Forthcoming (with Andrew Schrank).

“Making Knowledge Legitimate: Transnational Advocacy Networks’ Campaigns Against Tobacco, Infant Formula, and Pharmaceuticals.” 2017. Global Networks 17(2): 255-280 (with Tatiana Andia*).

“International Organizations: Loose and Tight Coupling in the Development Regime.” Special issue of Studies in Comparative International Development, edited by Barbara Stallings and Peter Evans. 2016. 51(1): 81-102 (with Sarah Babb)

“Narrowing the Gaps in Global Disputes: The Case of Counterfeits in Kenya.” 2015. Studies in Comparative International Development 50(2): 157-186.

“Intellectual Property, Access to Medicines, and Health: New Research Horizons.” 2015. Studies in Comparative International Development 52(2): 143-156 (with Kenneth C. Shadlen) 

The Globalization and Development Reader. Second Edition. Co-edited with J. Timmons Roberts and Amy Bellone Hite. London: Wiley-Blackwell. 2014.

“The State of States in International Organizations: From the WHO to the Global Fund.” 2014 (2011). Review. 34(3): 285-310 (with Tatiana Andia* and David Ciplet*)