Patrick Heller

Professor of Sociology


Patrick Heller joined the Brown Sociology Department in 2002. As a faculty associate, Heller brings projects to the PSTC that focus on development, institutions and inequality, with his primary area of interest in the comparative study of democratic deepening. He studies how inequality shapes development, urban transformation, democracy, and globalization. His work has focused primarily on Brazil, India, and South Africa.

Heller has written on a range of topics, including democratic consolidation, politics of decentralization, local democracy, urban transformation, and social movements. His work has drawn on extensive fieldwork, survey data, and spatial analysis. Heller is the director of the Graduate Program in Development at the Watson Institute.

Selected Publications

2015. Development and Deliberation. Edited with Vijayendra Rao. The World Bank.

2013. “Challenges and Opportunities: Civil Society and Social Movements in a Globalizing World,” pp. 186-245 in Khalid Malik and Maurice Kugler (eds.) Human Progress and the Rising South. New York: UNDP Human Development Report Office.

Available as UNDP 2013 Human Development Report, Occasional Papers at


2011. Bootstrapping Democracy: Transforming Local Governance and Civil Society in Brazil. Co-authored with Gianpaolo Baiocchi and Marcelo Kunrath Silva. Stanford University Press.


Brazil, Comparative political economy, Democratization, Development, India, Political sociology, Social movements, South Africa