Professor Hicken studies political institutions and political economy in developing countries. His primary focus has been on political parties and party systems in developing democracies and their role in policy making. His regional specialty is Southeast Asia where he has worked in Thailand, the Philippines, and Cambodia. Professor Hicken is the author of Building Party Systems in Developing Democracies, published by Cambridge University Press in 2009. Relying on in-depth case studies of Thailand and the Philippines and on large-n analysis to establish its arguments, this book addresses the question of why a party system with a modest number of nationally oriented political parties emerges in some democracies but not others.
Professor Hicken is also the editor of Politics of Modern Southeast Asia: Critical Issues in Modern Politics (Routledge Press, 2009), which is a four-volume compilation of work on modern Southeast Asian politics and suitable to those interested in the politics of the developing world generally and in the experiences of Southeast Asian countries for invaluable case studies that resonate in a wider political and economic context.