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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. mueller40_Jim Lo Scalzo-PoolGetty Images_bolsonaro trump Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images

    Why Populists Don’t Concede

    Jan-Werner Mueller

    With election denial becoming a new global trend, it is necessary to ask why so many citizens would accept leaders who fraudulently cry “fraud.” Even when they leave power quietly, populist politicians have exploited political polarization and indoctrinated their supporters never to trust the system.

    explains the political logic of fraudulently crying “fraud” in response to an electoral loss.
  2. ito19_ RICHARD A. BROOKSAFP via Getty Images_boj yen depreciation RICHARD A. BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images

    The Challenge of Monetary Tightening

    Takatoshi Ito identifies the main risks raised by central banks’ efforts to rein in inflation.
  3. wagner12_ ArterraUniversal Images Group via Getty Images_melting polar ice Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

    The High Stakes of Climate-Risk Accounting

    Gernot Wagner & Tom Brookes show why economists can no longer ignore the need for a far more comprehensive set of welfare indicators.
  4. elerian151_ Scott OlsonGetty Images_inflation Scott Olson/Getty Images

    The Cost of the Fed’s Challenged Credibility

    Mohamed A. El-Erian interprets the latest market tumult as the price of delaying monetary-policy tightening for too long.
  5. roach143_Drew AngererGetty Images_jerome powell Drew Angerer/Getty Images

    Core Dangers for the Fed and China

    Stephen S. Roach

    Just as a fixation on core inflation can mislead central banks, as it has done with the US Federal Reserve, the power of a “core leader” like China’s Xi Jinping is a recipe for misdirected and ultimately unsustainable policy regimes. The very notion of a core adds a false sense of precision when addressing complex problems.

    thinks the US central bank and Chinese governance share a conceptual weakness leading to major policy blunders.
  6. haldar13_Jens Büttnerpicture alliance via Getty Images Jens Büttner/picture alliance via Getty Images

    Amazon’s Satanic Mills

    Antara Haldar sees recent unionization efforts as a welcome response to an unethical and inhumane business model.
  7. asadullah12_SAEED KHANAFP via Getty Images_malaysia migration SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images

    Asia’s Captive Market for Migrant Labor

    M. Niaz Asadullah highlights how an entrenched alliance of politicians, bureaucrats, and business elites is exploiting workers.
  8. sheng129_ROSLAN RAHMANAFP via Getty Images_asean cooperation ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images

    In Search of a Development Plan for Asia

    Andrew Sheng & Xiao Geng argue that bottom-up institutions – not top-down strategies – are the key to regional integration.
  9. emmott_Antonio MasielloGetty Images_meloni Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

    Giorgia Meloni’s Moment

    Bill Emmott sees little difference between the Brothers of Italy’s program and that of recent right-wing governments.

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