FACULTY | Kathleen Thelen
Kathleen Thelen is Ford Professor of Political Science at MIT. Her work focuses on the origins and evolution of political-economic institutions in the rich democracies. She has just completed a book entitled Varieties of Liberalization and the New Politics of Social Solidarity. She has published five previous books, including most recently Explaining Institutional Change (Cambridge University Press, 2010), Beyond Continuity (Oxford University Press, 2005), and How Institutions Evolve (Cambridge University Press 2004), as well as numerous articles appearing in, among others World Politics and the Annual Review of Political Science. She has received several awards for her work, including the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award of the APSR (2005), the Mattei Dogan Award of the Society for Comparative Research (2006), the Max Planck Research Award for Humanities and Social Sciences (2003), and the Stanley Hoffman Award for the best article on French politics (2011). Thelen has held research fellowships at Oxford University, Gothenburg University, Sciences Po, the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Society, the Radcliffe Institute, the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, Copenhagen Business School, and the Science Center in Berlin. In 2009 she was elected to the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences.
Thelen is currently serving on the APSA Executive Council, and is President of the Association’s Comparative Politics Section. She served as Chair of the Council for European Studies (2002-2006), as President of the APSA Section on Politics and History (2007-2008), and as President of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (2008-2009). She is Assistant General Editor for the Cambridge University Press Series in Comparative Politics, and an appointed member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin and of the Board of Trustees of the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung. She co-chairs the "Seminar on the State and Capitalism Since 1800" with Peter A. Hall at the Center for European Studies at Harvard.
Thelen studies the origins, development, and effects of institutional arrangements that define distinctive "varieties of capitalism" across the developed democracies. Focusing especially on the "coordinated market economies" of northern Europe, her work uses cross-national comparison and historical analysis to identify the political-coalitional foundations on which different models of capitalism are founded, and to explain divergent trajectories of institutional development. Her most recent book, How Institutions Evolve: The Political Economy of Skills in Germany, Britain, the United States and Japan (Cambridge), was selected as winner of the 2006 Mattei Dogan Award of the Society for Comparative Research and co-winner of the 2005 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award of the APSA.
Thelen is also a prominent contributor to the literature on historical institutionalism. Her current work in this area focuses on issues of institutional change. Two recent volumes, Explaining Institutional Change (Cambridge 2010, with James Mahoney) and Beyond Continuity (Oxford 2005, with Wolfgang Streeck) critique dominant punctuated equilibrium models of change and provide an alternative historical-institutional framework for explaining modes of political change that are incremental but cumulatively transformative.
Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency, and Power (co-edited with James Mahoney). New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Beyond Continuity: Institutional Change in Advanced Political Economies (co-edited with Wolfgang Streeck). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
How Institutions Evolve: The Political Economy of Skills in Germany, Britain, the United States and Japan. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
"Institutionalizing Dualism: Complementarities and Change in France and Germany," (co-authored with Bruno Palier), Politics & Society 38: 1 (March 2010), 119-148.
"Economic Regulation and Social Solidarity: Conceptual and Analytic Innovations in the Study of Advanced Capitalism," Socio-Economic Review (October 2009), 1-21.
"Beyond Comparative Statics: Historical Institutional Approaches to Stability and Change in the Political Economy of Labor," Oxford Handbook of Comparative Institutional Analysis (2010)
17.951 Institutionalism and Institutional Change
17.156 Welfare and Capitalism in Western Europe
17.561 European Politics
17.906 Varieties of Capitalism and Inequality