Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Nitsan Chorev

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Nitsan Chorev

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


Nitsan Chorev is the Harmon Family Professor of Sociology and International & Public Affairs and the Director of the Development Studies concentration program.

Chorev’s current research is focused on access to medicines in East Africa. She looks at both the politics of imported medicines – today, these medicines come mostly from India – and at the politics of local manufacturing of medicines. She is particularly interested in identifying the transnational conditions leading to 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


2016. “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 (With Sarah Babb)

2016. “Making Knowledge Legitimate: Transnational Advocacy Networks’ Campaigns Against Tobacco, Infant Formula, and Pharmaceuticals.” Forthcoming in Global Networks (With Tatiana Andia).

2015. “Narrowing the Gaps in Global Disputes: The Case of Counterfeits in Kenya.” Studies in Comparative International Development 52(2): 157-186.

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

2013. “Restructuring Neoliberalism at the World Health Organization.” Review of International Political Economy 20(4): 627-666

2012. The World Health Organization Between North and South. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

2012. “Changing Global Norms through Reactive Diffusion: The Case of Intellectual Property Protection of AIDS Drugs.” American Sociological Review 77(5): 831-853.