Tricia D. Olsen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Business Ethics and Legal Studies at the University of Denver's Daniels College of Business.
Trained as a comparative political scientist, Olsen studies and teaches about the political economy of development, with a focus on business ethics, human rights, and sustainability in emerging and developing countries. Her current research focuses on the differences in microfinance across countries, utilizing qualitative and quantitative data to explain why states pursue varying pathways to the regulation and promotion of microfinance, with a focus on Brazil, Mexico, and India. Olsen is also involved in a collaborative project that explores the determinants, and effect, of transitional justice mechanisms.
Olsen has received support from Fulbright-Hays, NSF-AHCR, United States Institute of Peace, and Zennstrom Philanthropies, among others. In addition to her co-authored book, Transitional Justice in Balance: Comparing Processes, Weighing Efficacy, additional published work can be found in numerous outlets, including Human Rights Quarterly, Journal of Peace Research, and Taiwan Journal of Democracy.
Professor Olsen received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The provision of small loans to low-income individuals—microfinance—has gained recent attention from both domestic and international actors because of the widespread belief in its ability to improve development outcomes. Yet, there is broad variation in approaches to microfinance—specifically microfinance regulation—across developing countries. I argue that a missing component of extant explanations for regulatory outcomes is the role that non-state domestic actors (associations of microfinance providers) play, particularly their ability to organize, gain access to the state, and serve as an “entry point” for international actors. Given assumptions in the collective action, interest group, and social movement literatures, this project also highlights surprising and novel ways in which domestic actors organize and engage with the state and international actors to affect policy outcomes. I develop these arguments using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. To test the hypotheses in the existing literatures, I constructed an original dataset of microfinance regulations in 125 developing economies. A series of hazard models and qualitative data gathered during twelve months of fieldwork in Brazil and Mexico illustrate the processes by which domestic actors organize and how they check state power. In doing so, this research answers fundamental questions about the political economy of policy adoption in general, and financial policy adoption in particular.
Transitional justice mechanisms—particularly trials, truth commissions, and amnesties—designed to resolve past authoritarian state violence, have proliferated around the world. In collaboration with Professor Leigh Payne and Andrew Reiter, the Transitional Justice Data Base systematically and statistically tests assumptions in the literature that such mechanisms strengthen democracy and deter human rights violations.
During my first years of graduate school, I worked at the University of Wisconsin's NewsLab. Most Americans (and an even higher percentage of Latinos in the U.S.) get the majority of their information from television and local news in particular. Yet there have been few systematic studies of the content and effectiveness of local television news. I served as the Project and Grants Director at the University of Wisconsin's NewsLab from 2005-2007. I supervised over fifty undergraduate students to compile the NewsLab's most comprehensive dataset and archive in Spanish- and English-language news in the Midwest, the Midwest News Index.
Essence of Enterprise, Fall 2011
Creating Sustainable Enterprise, Spring 2012
Department of Business Ethics and Legal Studies
Daniels College of Business
University of Denver
2101 South University Boulevard, Suite 687
Denver, CO 80208
Email: Tricia.Olsen [at] du.edu