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Dr Darrin McDonald
Research Associate



Darrin McDonald is a political economist with a track record of interdisciplinary work.  His main research interests include the conditions and institutional arrangements promoting variable development outcomes among ostensibly similar states, the political economy of and policy implications from new free trade agreements like CPTPP, and the specific history and development of Gabon, Republic of Congo, Chad, and Central African Republic. 

Darrin assumed his current position at York in 2022.  He holds a PhD from the Department of Politics at the University of York as well as an MA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics: Politics and Development and BAs in Political Science and History. 



  • Introduction to International Politics - POL00002C
  • Introduction to Political Theory - POL00004C
  • What is Politics? - POL00008C



Darrin’s current research includes a project with fellow Department member Tony Heron as part of a POST Fellowship – House of Commons International Trade Committee project on post-Brexit UK trade policies and spatial imaginaries involved therein.  Darrin is also serving as Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Country Expert on the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) for the forthcoming 2024 Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) and has been contracted by Rowman & Littlefield to write the new edition of the Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Congo. 

Darrin’s ongoing research interests include an effort to highlight the experiences of the states of equatorial Africa and assess the impact specific emerging dynamics are likely to have on domestic security and development.  This includes analysis into Gabon’s recent entry into the Commonwealth, Chad’s ongoing political uncertainty, and CAR’s adoption of cryptocurrency.  He intends to return to Congo for fieldwork in 2023 and to continue to pursue further comparative and case study analyses for his work on the political economy of trade and development.



Selected publications

  • BTI. (2024, forthcoming). BTI 2024 Country Report – Congo, Rep. Bertelsmann Transformation Index.
  • McDonald, D.P. (2023, forthcoming). Crisis and Adaptive Informal Institutions in Equatorial Africa. Journal of Institutional Economics.
  • McDonald, D.P. (2023, forthcoming). Civil Conflict and Human Development on the African Margins: Divergent Paths in Equatorial Africa. Journal of US-China Relations.
  • McDonald, D.P. (2023, forthcoming). Historical Dictionary of Republic of the Congo, New Edition. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • McDonald, D.P. (2022). Stability and Neo-Patrimonial Developmentalism in Gabon: A Comparative Analysis of Equatorial Africa. PhD Thesis, University of York.  
  • BTI. (2022). BTI 2022 Country Report – Congo, Rep. Bertelsmann Transformation Index.
  • BTI. (2020). BTI 2020 Country Report – Congo, Rep. Bertelsmann Transformation Index.       

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Contact details

Dr Darrin McDonald
Research Associate
Department of Politics and International Relations
University of York
Heslington Lane
YO10 5DD

Feedback and Guidance hours,  (Spring term): Wednesday 14:00-15:00 in D/A/122A.