Maxfield J Peterson, RegNet
B.A. (Willamette University) M.A. (University of Pittsburgh) PhD (University of Pittsburgh)

Dr. Maxfield Peterson joined the ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance in 2022. Max is a political scientist whose work investigates questions at the intersection of governance, political economy, energy politics, and international development. Prior to joining the ANU, Max completed his dissertation, entitled “Unsustainable Development: How Incoherent Governance Stunts Africa’s Energy Future,” at the University of Pittsburgh under the direction of Dr. B. Guy Peters and Dr. Michaël Aklin. This work explored how the interaction between successive waves of international regulatory interventions and the domestic political economies of Sub-Saharan African nations has affected the possibilities for renewable energy development in the region.

Under a doctoral research grant from the University of Pittsburgh, Max conducted interviews in Ghana and South Africa with key stakeholders in the energy policy process. In addition to a book manuscript based on his dissertation research, Max is engaged in two research programs. Working alongside Dr. Christian Downie of ANU, he is currently exploring how export credit agencies affect the energy transition, from their impact on carbon lock-in to their potential to accelerate green energy through the internationalization of energy value chains. He is also exploring how variations in institutional design affect the potential for democratic governance of these public banking institutions. In a project with Dr. Michaël Aklin, Max is investigating the role of non-state actors in global climate governance.

Max manages a database of non-state participants at international climate conferences which will enable the application of quantitative methods to explore the various ways in which these actors contribute to and detract from the democratic quality of global climate governance.

Max’s research has been published in Review of International Political Economy, Centralization: Benefits and Drawbacks, (forthcoming with Nova Science Publishers), The SAGE Handbook of Research Methods in Political Science and International Relations (SAGE Publications), and Political Studies Review (with Soctt Morgenstern and Amaury Perez). His work has also been published in The Lowy Institute's The Interpreter and The Conversation.

Research Interest

My research examines how states and institutions navigate the tradeoffs between the energy transition, economic growth, and national security.