Heidi McNamara, Ph.D.


University of California, San Diego

City: Denver, Colorado

Country: United States

About Me:

I am a political scientist with expertise in institutional design, the role the private sector plays in shaping policy,  and multi-methods research. I received my doctorate in Political Science at University of California, San Diego in 2019.

Research Interests

International Law & Organization


Political Economy

Private Sector Influence

International Governance

Foreign Direct Investment

Multi Stakeholder Governance


Journal Articles:

(2019) America's Human Rights Policy: The Corporate Lobby, Human Rights Quarterly

Interest groups take an active stance on US human rights policy, with implications for countries around the world. Today, publicly traded companies are responsible for the majority of all lobbying dollars spent on the issue. This article leverages a unique dataset on congressional lobbying between 2007 and 2010 to map and explain variation in corporate lobbying on US human rights-related legislation. We substantiate and explain why large oil, defense, and technology companies have greater representation in terms of dollars spent trying to influence the US approach to managing human rights around the globe than any other lobbying group. Rarely do these companies publicly explain their interests or intentions when lobbying a policy. Moreover, congressional efforts to link human rights to other areas of legislation (such as trade) has incentivized certain firms—some likely without any direct interests in human rights—to weigh in on the human rights policymaking process. Whether this is good or bad news for the promotion of human rights around the world is an open—and pressing—question.