State Power and the Power Law

Pavi had a great post recently on the different ways that historical political economists have conceptualized and measured state capacity. I want to follow up with a small point that doesn’t have anything directly to do with historical political economy, but that I believe is important for historical political economists and anyone else thinking about … Continue reading State Power and the Power Law

What Did Stalinist Industrialization Accomplish?

The spring quarter at Chicago starts in a week. I will be teaching a course on the political economy of communism and the postcommunist transition. I love this class, which I taught at Wisconsin for many years, and not just because it is an opportunity to subject a captive audience to my repertoire of Soviet-era … Continue reading What Did Stalinist Industrialization Accomplish?

What Joe Biden Could Learn About Reform from Tsar Alexander II

by Eugene (Evgeny) Finkel and Scott Gehlbach Climate change, racial equity, immigration, healthcare: Joe Biden has a lot on his plate beyond bringing the pandemic to an end. In possession of the narrowest of majorities in the House and a ten-seat deficit in the Senate on all business that can be filibustered, the temptation will … Continue reading What Joe Biden Could Learn About Reform from Tsar Alexander II

Life and Death During the Transition Depression

The New York Times published an interesting pair of reports on Tuesday. The first related a recent study in Health Affairs that documents a staggering, and unexpected, decline in hospital admissions since the arrival of COVID in the United States earlier this year. With the important exception of those areas where COVID infections are spiking, … Continue reading Life and Death During the Transition Depression

Navigating the Frontier between History and Social Science

The hottest debate in academia the past week has concerned the appropriateness of a new article on “Frontier Culture” by Samuel Bazzi, Martin Fiszbein, and Mesay Gebresilasse. In his post on Monday, Jared unpacked the paper’s argument and summarized the diverse evidence the authors bring to bear on one part of Frederick Jackson Turner’s (in)famous … Continue reading Navigating the Frontier between History and Social Science