Jonathan Krieckhaus

Jonathan Krieckhaus
Comparative Politics
202 Prof. Bldg.
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Jonathan Krieckhaus (Associate Professor) received his Ph.D. in 2000 from Princeton University and specializes in the political economy of development.


My specialty is the politics of developing countries, with a particular emphasis on the effect of colonialism and democracy on economic prosperity. I am currently writing a book on the ways in which bond investors react to democratic elections and partisanship in Latin America and Asia. I am primarily interested in the way that politics influences long-run material prosperity in the developing world. In my recent book, Dictating Development, I advance the thesis that international politics plays a decisive role in determining development. Colonialism, for instance, heavily structured state structures and human capital in most countries, and hence variations in colonial policies help explain much of the variation we observe in economic success and failure around the globe. Moreover, international factors such as market shocks, warfare, and foreign aid further shape development outcome.

Many of my journal articles explore the complex effects that democracy has on long-run economic growth. My first piece in the British Journal of Political Science (2004) shows that the sharp division in the existing statistical literature is primarily due to a pronounced difference in democracy's effect over time—a negative effect on economic growth in the 1960s, and yet a positive effect on growth in the 1980s. My second piece in the British Journal of Political Science (2006) argues that democracy should have a positive effect on economic growth in the African context (by acting as a constraint on corruption), but should have a negative effect in Latin America (by facilitating populist movements that endorse economically destabilizing policies). In a piece co-authored with A. Cooper Drury, in The International Political Science Review (2006), we argue further that democracy largely negate corruption's negative economic effects, mostly because democratic oversight creates incentives for politicians to shunt their most corrupt activities into policy domains that do not impinge upon economic performance.

  • Comparative Political Systems
  • Power and Money
  • Latin American Politics
  • Readings in Comparative Politics (graduate)
  • Comparative Political Economy (graduate)
  • Latin American Politics (graduate)
Selected Publications: 

Dictating Development: How Europe Shaped the Global Periphery. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006.

"Democracy and Economic Growth: How Regional Context Influences Regime Effects," British Journal of Political Science (April 2006).

"The Regime Debate Revisited: A Sensitivity Analysis of Democracy's Effects," British Journal of Political Science (October 2004).