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James Robinson

David Florence Professor of Government Comparative Political Economy and Economic and Political Development

James Robinson is a Professor of Government, Harvard University. His research interests lie in political economy and economic and political development. He received his BS from the London School of Economics and Political Science, his MA from University of Warwick, and his PhD from Yale University in 1993. Some of his publications include; Why did the West Extend the Franchise? Quarterly Journal of Economics, August 2000, A Theory of Political Transitions American Economic Review, September 2001, Colonial Origins of Comparative Development, American Economic Review, December 2001, Inefficient Redistribution American Political Science Review, September 2001, Reversal of Fortune Quarterly Journal of Economics, November 2002 and States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control by Jeffrey I. Herbst: A Review Essay, Journal of Economic Literature, June 2002; . He has just published a book jointly with Daron Acemoglu titled The Economic Origins of Democracy and Dictatorship which was published by Cambridge University Press.


  • Political Economy;
  • Economic Development;
  • Political Development;
  • Comparative

Current Research Interests

James Robinson’s main research interests are in comparative economic and political development with a focus on the long-run with a particular interest in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. He is currently conducting research in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Haiti and in Colombia where he has taught for many years during the summer at the University of the Andes in Bogotá.

Selected Publications & Presentations

Publications by Type: click here    

“Economic sociology is a science concerning itself with the interpretive understanding of social economic action and thereby with a causal explanation of its course and consequences.”— Max Weber