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Rachel Skillman

Dissertation Fellow
UC San Diego

Rachel Skillman is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at UC San Diego. Rachel specializes in the politics of Foreign Land Investment (FLI), or cross-border capital flows into the agricultural sector. Her research offers a novel theory of FLI’s distributive consequences and the downstream political effects that follow. In particular, she argues that FLI exacerbates inequalities between landowners and rural workers by making agricultural production more capital intensive. She also explores how foreign investors are able to make FLI more attractive to host country politicians by insulating them from popular backlash and making them less responsive to demands for regulation. Her dissertation studies these dynamics in Brazil and the United States, combining untapped data on cross-national FLI flows with qualitative interviews of local officials and agricultural sector employees who “lose” from FLI. Rachel’s work highlights an important but overlooked dimension of the backlash against globalization, with important implications for democracy, development, and the environment.

Proposal Title: The Political Consequences of Foreign Land Investment

Rachel Skillman

Expertise & Interests

  • Foreign land investment
  • Agriculture
  • Democracy