Watson Institute at Brown University
Development Studies
Andrew Schrank

Andrew Schrank

+1 401 863 2326
111 Thayer Street, Room 207

Downloadable CV

Andrew Schrank

Olive C. Watson Professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs

Areas of Interest: Comparative sociology: political, economic, organizational


Andrew Schrank received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 2000 and is currently the Olive C. Watson Professor of Sociology and International & Public Affairs at Brown University. He is also a Canadian Institute for Advanced Research fellow in the program on “Innovation, Equity, and the Future of Prosperity." Schrank has received grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and many private foundations; consulted for the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, and a number of federal agencies; served on a half dozen editorial boards; and collaborated with Somos un Pueblo Unido, an immigrant rights organization based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Center for a New Economy in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His research has been published by leading journals in political science, sociology, international development, and Latin American studies. And he is the co-author (with Michael Piore) of Root-Cause Regulation: Protecting Work and Workers in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard University Press 2018).


Andrew Schrank studies the organization, regulation, and performance of industry. In addition to ongoing work on the development of regulatory inspection in Latin America, he is involved in two principal empirical projects: a study of the relationship between health policy and industrial policy in the Dominican Republic; and an analysis of decentralized manufacturing networks in the United States.

Health Policy and Industrial Policy in Latin America. Late developing countries allegedly face a brutal tradeoff between short-run social welfare, or consumption, and long-run economic development, or investment. But the essential medicines program in the Dominican Republic (Programa de Medicamentos Esenciales) appears to be reconciling growth and social protection by fostering the production of high quality, low cost generic medicines and their simultaneous distribution to the country’s poor. What are the social and political underpinnings of the program? Are they found in neighboring countries? And what, if anything, do they tell us about the prospects for late development more generally? I am addressing these and related questions by analyzing interview and survey data from the Dominican Republic and comparative data on a larger sample of late developers.

Representative publication:

“Cross-Class Coalitions and Collective Goods: The Farmacias del Pueblo in the Dominican Republic.” Comparative Politics. Forthcoming.

Decentralized Manufacturing Networks in the United States. Small and midsized enterprises (SMEs) are the building blocks of the decentralized production networks that have come to dominate modern-day manufacturing. But they tend to lack the knowledge, capital, and connections they would need to understand and take advantage of best practices. The consequences are particularly salient in the United States, where SMEs that adopt new techniques and technologies are approximately 50 percent more productive than their more typical counterparts. What differentiates the more productive SMEs from their less productive counterparts? And what, if anything, might be done to address the imbalance? Josh Whitford and I are addressing the question by examining interview, survey, and administrative data from the Manufacturing Extension Partnerships, a federal program designed to disseminate new techniques and technologies to SMEs in the US.

Representative publication: "Brokerage and Boots on the Grounds: Complements or Substitutes in the Manufacturing Extension Partnerships?” Co-authored with Philipp Brandt, University of Mannheim, and Josh Whitford, Columbia University.  Economic Development Quarterly. Forthcoming.


Root-Cause Regulation: Protecting Work and Workers in the 21st Century. Harvard University Press (2018). Co-authored with Michael Piore, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“The Social Construction of the Regulatory Burden: Substantive and Methodological Considerations.” Co-authored with Marcus Kurtz, Ohio State University. Social Forces. Forthcoming.

“Regulators without Borders? Labor Inspectors in Latin America and Beyond.”  Global Networks. Forthcoming.

“Mobile Professionals and Metropolitan Models: The German Roots of Vocational Education in Latin America.” European Journal of Sociology. Forthcoming.

“Rebuilding Labor Power in the Postindustrial United States,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 685 (1) 2019.  

“Cross-Class Coalitions and Collective Goods: The Farmacias del Pueblo in the Dominican Republic.” Comparative Politics. 51 (2) 2019.

“Brokerage and Boots on the Ground: Complements or Substitutes in the Manufacturing Extension Partnerships.” Economic Development Quarterly. 32 (4) 2018. Co-authored with Philipp Brandt, University of Mannheim, and Josh Whitford, Columbia University. 


Comparative Development (SOC 1600)

Comparative Historical Sociology (SOC 2600)

DEVL 1000 Sophomore Seminar in Development Studies

Talks & Media

“Working at Scale: Lessons on Cost Savings and Return on Investment from the Essential Medicines Program in the Dominican Republic.” Social Accountability for Improving Health and Nutrition of Women, Children and Adolescents, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, World Health Organization, New Delhi, India, December 11, 2018.

“Capabilities and Competitiveness: Essential Medicines in the Dominican Republic.” David R. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, February 6, 2018.

“Government Brokerage of Innovation Networks,” Innovation Policy Forum of the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, January 9, 2018.

“Root-Cause Regulation: Protecting Work and Workers in the Twenty-First Century.” Chicago-Kent Law School. October 27, 2017.

“Grassroots Reform in the Global South,” United States Agency for International Development, Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance, Washington, District of Columbia, July 12, 2017; also at Results for Development, Washington, District of Columbia, November 3, 2017 (Getting to Scale: Social Accountability for Health Governance). 

“Beyond the Silicon Valley Consensus,” Escuela de Gobierno y Transformación Pública, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Ciudad de México, México, June 23, 2017.

“The Middle Income Trap and the Silicon Valley Consensus,” American University-Inter-American Development Bank Seminar Series, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC, June 2, 2017.

“Inspección del Trabajo y Desarrollo Sostenible,” Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia, Tunja, Boyacá, Colombia, May 10, 2017.