My research lies at the intersection of international and comparative political economy, with an emphasis on energy politics and law. Drawing on my background in energy finance, my research has focused on the relationship between host governments and oil companies and the way in which this relationship is structured by laws and regulations. My dissertation explores how and why petroleum regimes are chosen. These choices, in turn, determine the level of investor protection, taxation structures, and ability to book reserves in international markets. My future research projects continue to emphasize the choices and consequences of legal structures used to govern foreign investment, particularly in the oil & gas industry.


Crude Choice: The Centrality of Learning and Emulation in the Developing World’s Transformation of Oil Regimes

My dissertation explores the mechanisms underlying the diffusion of three types of petroleum regime: concessions, production sharing agreements, and service contracts. Over the past fifty years, a model originating in Indonesia has become the most commonly used petroleum regime in the developing world. Its popularity runs counter to traditional models that emphasize North-South diffusion patterns but can be explained if we use a general framework for diffusion that considers both international and domestic factors. In that framework, the relative propensity for diffusion by means of coercion, competition, learning, and emulation is shaped by a country’s level of development and the orientation of its political elites. In the case of the oil industry, I argue that, contrary to conventional narratives that emphasize the coercive power of international oil companies and their home governments, host countries’ choices among petroleum regimes are driven primarily by their own preferences. Learning and emulation, shaped by self-perception and advice from international consultants, are crucial to explaining how developing countries have tended to choose the production sharing agreement regime over its alternatives.


Peter Katzenstein and Nicole Weygandt (2017). “Mapping Eurasia in an Open World: How the Insularity of Russia’s Geopolitical and Civilizational Approaches Limits Its Foreign Policies,” Perspectives on Politics, 15(2), 428-442.

Nicole Weygandt, John Sachs, and Scott Flippen (2009). “Financing GCC Power Projects Post Credit-Crunch,” Natural Gas & Electricity, 26: 1-7. doi: 10.1002/gas.10096.

Nicole Weygandt and Terry Newendorp (2008). “Trends in Independent Oil Company M&A”, Financier Worldwide e-book.

Nicole Weygandt, Jennifer Hara, and James Machulak (April/May 2008). “Financing Transportation Projects in Africa” EMEA Finance.

Working Papers

“Can Oil Laws Mitigate the Resource Curse?”

“The Diffusion of Production Sharing Agreements in the Petroleum Industry”

“The Stability of Oil and Gas Laws in an Age of Resource Nationalism: A Survival Model of Oil and Gas Legal Systems from 1960 to 2005″