Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
As an international policy specialist, Barrett’s research interests include international political economy, regional integration, and governance with particular emphasis on higher education policy and economic development. Previously, she participated in a doctoral fellowship with the European Union Center of Excellence at the University of Miami. Following her M.A. in International Relations for Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), professional experiences in public policy included assignments with the U.S. House of Representatives, the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs, and the U.S. Department of State in Helsinki, Finland as well as with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Barrett is active with community organizations including the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and the Houston Committee on Foreign Relations.
Considers competing institutional and geographic explanations for economic development, and the institutional framework is dominant explaining the historically weak governance structure and the role of foreign assistance in development. Reviews the post-colonial legacy of Haiti and its impact on economic development. Discusses the lack of an integral state resulting in weak institutions.
Sets out political economy explanations for higher education policy reform in Europe in the initial decades of the 21st century. With a sustained focus on the national level of policy implementation, institutional change is considered in relationship to broader trends in economic development and globalization.
Reveals trends in higher education policy between the U.S. and Mexico. Show that limited communication, inadequate funding, and perceptions of insecurity in Mexico are significant barriers to overcome in order to increase academic mobility.
Presents the resurgence of regionalism throughout the world in the early 1990s triggered an extensive body of research by economists and political scientists. Examines the relationship between think-tanks - which emphasize knowledge, ideas, and learning - and policy makers in countries in Latin America in particular.
Explains the political economy of the Bologna Process and the higher education reforms initiated in Europe at the beginning of the millennium as a series of papers.