Kathleen Thelen

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Political scientist; Educator
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Political Science

Her empirical research focuses on the historical origins and ongoing evolution of political-economic institutions in rich democracies, especially Europe. Her book, How Institutions Evolve (2004) won the APSA Woodrow Wilson Award for best book on government and politics.  She is also especially well-known for her theoretical contributions to historical-institutional approaches to the study of politics and to theories of gradual institutional change. Her chapter, “Historical Institutionalism in Comparative Politics” (1999) remains the most cited and most downloaded contribution to the Annual Review of Political Science.  She is permanent external member of the Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Society and was inducted into the Berlin-Brandenburg Akademie der Wissenschaften in 2009.

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