About the Initiative

A large and growing body of scholarship documents the effects of regime type on economic growth and other indicators of economic performance.  This program builds on that work to probe more deeply into what aspects of democracy (or autocracy), law, and social arrangements matter, by what mechanisms.  In the weakly institutionalized democracies that constitute, in fact, the majority of the world’s democracies, dynamics of political competition often skew towards private exchanges between politicians and groups of supporters (clientelism).  An aim of this project is also, then, to understand the dynamics behind better and worse forms of democratic institutions from the standpoint of long-term growth and prosperity, and the demographic, technological, and political forces that push governments towards good and bad forms.


Frances McCall Rosenbluth
Frances McCall Rosenbluth is the Damon Wells Professor of Political Science at Yale University and a comparative political economist whose recent work focuses on Japan’s political economy; the political economy of gender; war and constitutions; and the politics of democratic accountability.  She is the author of Financial Politics in Contemporary Japan (Cornell 1989); Japan’s Political Marketplace (with Mark Ramseyer, Harvard 1993); The Politics of Oligarchy: Institutional Choice in Imperial Japan (Cambridge 1995); Women, Work, and Power (with Torben Iversen, Yale University Press 2010), Japan Transformed (with Michael Thies, Princeton University Press), Forged Through Fire: Military Conflict and the Democratic Bargain (with John Ferejohn, Norton 2016); and Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself (with Ian Shapiro, Yale 2018).  She graduated from the University of Virginia in 1980 with highest distinction, received her M.I.A. from Columbia in 1983, and her Ph.D. from Columbia in 1988.  She is the recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Commission, the Social Science Research Council, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Abe Foundation, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Ian Shapiro
Ian Shapiro is Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He has written widely and influentially on democracy, justice, and the methods of social inquiry. A native of South Africa, he received his J.D. from the Yale Law School and his Ph.D from the Yale Political Science Department where he has taught since 1984 and served as chair from 1999 to 2004. Shapiro is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a past fellow of the Carnegie Corporation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has held visiting appointments at the University of Cape Town, Keio University in Tokyo, Sciences Po in Paris, and Nuffield College, Oxford. His most recent books are The Real World of Democratic Theory (Princeton University Press, 2012) Politics Against Domination (Harvard University Press, 2016), and, with Frances Rosenbluth, Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself (Yale University Press, 2018). His current research concerns the relations between democracy and the distribution of income and wealth.


Affiliated Faculty

William N. Goetzmann
William N. Goetzmann is the Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Management Studies and Faculty Director of the International Center for Finance at the Yale School of Management.  He is an expert on a diverse range of investments.  His past work includes studies of stock market predictability, hedge funds and survival biases in performance measurement.  His current research focuses on alternative investing, factor investing, behavioral finance and the art market.

 Professor Goetzmann has written and co-authored a number of books, including Modern Portfolio Theory and Investment Analysis (Wiley, 2014), The Origins of Value: The Financial Innovations that Created Modern Capital Markets (Oxford, 2005), The Great Mirror of Folly: Finance, Culture and the Crash of 1720 (Yale, 2013) and most recently, Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible (Princeton, 2016).  He teaches portfolio management, alternative investments, real estate and financial history at the Yale School of Management.


Geert Rouwenhorst
Geert Rouwenhorst is the Robert B. and Candice J. Haas Professor of Corporate Finance & Deputy Director of the International Center for Finance at the Yale School of Management.

Geert Rouwenhorst specializes in empirical finance and asset pricing. His research interests include risk and return in international equity markets, commodity investments, and the history of financial innovation. He has held visiting positions at MIT and the IMF. His co-edited book The Origins of Value: The Financial Innovations that Created Modern Capital Markets surveys key historical innovations in the field of finance, and was named a book of the year by Barron’s and the Economist.


Postdoctoral Fellows

Maikol Cerda
Ph.D. in Economics from New York University, B.A. and M.A. in Economics from the University of Chile

Alexander Kustov
Ph.D. in Politics and Social Policy from Princeton University, Erasmus Postgraduate Exchange in Government at the University of Essex, M.A. in Political Science from the University of Mannheim, B.A. in Sociology from the Higher School of Economics


Student Researchers

Jacob Carlson, Yale College 2020
Leila Halley-Wright, Yale College 2021
Anastasia Hufham, Yale College 2022
Simone Lavin, Yale College 2019
He Li, Yale College 2017
Hovik Minasyan, Yale College 2022
Akhil Rajan, Yale College, 2021