Matthew Fails

Matthew Fails

fails photo

Matthew Fails
Assistant professor
Department of Political Science

Matthew Fails, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science.  Specializing in comparative politics, much of Dr. Fails’ scholarship is focused on the interaction between economic and political phenomena. His current research spotlights the impact of European colonialism on global development, examining how different patterns of colonial conquest and colonization have influenced whether countries are wealthy or poor today.

In addition, he has published work on how differences between countries can affect their ability to attract outside investment. Some of Dr. Fails’ research has been sponsored by a Faculty Research Fellowship Award from the University Research Committee, and he is also a recipient of the Marian P. Wilson Award for outstanding scholarship.

Since joining Oakland in 2009, Dr. Fails has taught courses in comparative politics, the politics of development and African politics. He is currently developing a new capstone course, "Blood Diamonds and Petro-Politics," which will explore how an abundance of natural resource wealth is associated with a variety of negative outcomes, from slow economic growth, increased likelihood of civil wars and the prevention of democratic government.

Along with his teaching duties, Dr. Fails serves on several committees in the Department of Political Science and has spearheaded other efforts, such as bringing in a distinguished speaker in support of the College of Arts and Sciences’ 2010 theme, “Frontiers and Borders.” He also organizes the Political Science Research Forum, a monthly seminar series in which members of the Political Science department present their research to colleagues and students. Plans are underway to broaden the program by featuring other OU social scientists, as well as experts from neighboring institutions.

Dr. Fails completed his undergraduate education at Truman State University and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.

Read more about the Department of Political Science
Read more featured faculty profiles