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James A. Robinson

James A. Robinson

8 commentaries

James A. Robinson, Institute Director of the Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts, is University Professor at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. He is the co-author (with Daron Acemoglu) of The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty, and Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty.

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  1. Why Taiwan Matters
    acemoglu51_ Central News AgencyHandoutGetty Images_pelositaiwan Central News Agency/Handout/Getty Images

    Why Taiwan Matters

    Aug 9, 2022 Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson see the island as evidence against culturally deterministic explanations of authoritarianism and democracy.

  2. Why Trumpian Populism Failed
    jarobinson7_Joe RaedleGetty Images_trump cpac rally Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    Why Trumpian Populism Failed

    Mar 9, 2021 James A. Robinson shows how US democratic institutions prevailed, and why they remain vulnerable to wannabe autocrats.

  3. How to Stem Ukraine’s Corruption
    acemoglu11_Spencer PlattGetty Images_ukrainegirlflowerstape Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    How to Stem Ukraine’s Corruption

    Oct 14, 2019 Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson show that it takes a society-wide effort for countries to escape the grip of kleptocratic institutions.

  4. The Constitution Won’t Save American Democracy
    acemoglu10_Brendan SmialowskiGetty Images_constitution Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

    The Constitution Won’t Save American Democracy

    Sep 24, 2019 Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson argue that only social mobilization can remove the threat President Donald Trump poses to US institutions.

  5. Istanbul Shows How Democracy Is Won
    acemoglu8_ Burak KaraGetty Images_imamoglu istanbul Burak Kara/Getty Images

    Istanbul Shows How Democracy Is Won

    Jun 25, 2019 Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson draw lessons from the opposition's victory over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s authoritarian party.

  1. vaheesan2_Michael M. SantiagoGetty Images_gigworkersprotest Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

    The Gig Economy vs. America’s Workers

    Sandeep Vaheesan warns that proposed ballot initiatives in Massachusetts would legalize exploitative employment practices.
  2. sherwin13_CURTIS MEANSPOOLAFP via Getty Images_repubicans trump trial CURTIS MEANS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

    King Trump on Trial

    Richard K. Sherwin

    High-ranking Republican politicians have lately been turning up at Donald Trump’s New York City trial to demonstrate solidarity with the former president. But their attendance also serves a more alarming purpose: to validate Trump as a competing source of sovereign power, independent of the US Constitution and the rule of law.

    explains why a parade of Republican leaders have made appearances at the former president’s trial in New York.
  3. spence173_ Joe RaedleGetty Images_power Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    Crunch Time for the Power Sector

    Michael Spence argues that developing flexible, stable, and resilient smart grids requires an expanded industrial policy.
  4. op_janeway16_SAUL LOEBAFP via Getty Images_bidenchips Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

    The Rise of Mesoeconomics

    William H. Janeway

    A growing body of literature focusing on the domain between the microeconomic and the macroeconomic has become increasingly relevant in a world beset by supply shocks. Armed with such insights, those designing industrial policies will have a better chance of achieving their overlapping economic- and national-security goals.

    details how a long-neglected field of economic study can be applied to today's most pressing policy challenges.
  5. strain27_Philipp von Ditfurthpicture alliance via Getty Images_AIeducation Philipp von Ditfurth/picture alliance via Getty Images

    What the AI Pessimists Are Missing

    Michael R. Strain points out that the technology will help to address many of the risks it creates.
  6. ito37_Spencer PlattGetty Images_columbiaprotests Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    The Innocent Bystanders of College Protests

    Takatoshi Ito laments that a radical minority can disrupt the lives of so many in the broader university community.
  7. lacamera1_Wang DongzhenXinhua via Getty Images_COP28 Wang Dongzhen/Xinhua via Getty Images

    Only Public-Private Cooperation Can Accelerate Decarbonization

    Francesco La Camera & Bruce Douglas explain how to translate political commitments into actual wind turbines and solar panels.
  8. haass167_ANATOLII STEPANOVAFP via Getty Images_ukrainesoldiers Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images

    Defining Success in Ukraine

    Richard Haass calls for a shift to a defensive posture and efforts to bring about a long-term ceasefire.
  9. aslund75_Pierre CromGetty Images_ukraineconflict Pierre Crom/Getty Images

    A Unified Western Strategy for Ukraine

    Anders Åslund proposes a maximalist approach to military aid to replace the current piecemeal injections of old weapons.

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