Watson Institute for International Studies


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Mark Blyth

Mark Blyth

Mark Blyth

Faculty Fellow
Director of the International Relations and Development Studies Programs
Professor of International Political Economy


Mark Blyth is professor of international political economy at Brown University. He is based in the Department of Political Science, but his research begs and borrows from multiple fields. He is particularly interested in how uncertainty and randomness impact complex systems, particularly economic systems. He was a member of the Warwick Commission on International Financial Reform that made a case for macro-prudential regulation. He is the author of Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2002), and most recently, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford University Press 2013). His academic writings have appeared in such places as the American Political Science Review, the Review of International Political Economy, and the Journal of Evolutionary Economics, while his more popular writings have appeared in Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy magazine.


My research interests lie in the field of international political economy. More specifically, my research trespasses several fields and aims to be as interdisciplinary as possible, drawing from political science, economics, sociology, complexity theory, and evolutionary theory. My work falls into several related areas: the politics of ideas, how institutions change, political parties, and the politics of finance. The politics of ideas focuses upon how agents deal with complexity and uncertainty in the design of institutions and the expression of their interests. Institutional change focuses upon evolutionary dynamics in complex systems, especially financial systems. I am interested in how, again, agents act within such systems given the non-linear dynamics that they generate. My work on political parties has focused upon how political parties self-insure against uncertainty via cartel structures. My work on finance focuses upon the politics of regulatory change, the role of macro-prudential regulation, the distributional costs of financial crises, and the power of financial ideas in politics.


Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (New York: Oxford University Press 2013). Translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean.

"The Austerity Delusion: How a Dangerous Idea Won Over the West," Foreign Affairs, April/May 2013.

"The BRICs and the Washington Consensus: An Introduction," Special Issue of the Review of International Political Economy, 'Dreaming with the BRICs,' 20 (2) (2013): 241-255 (with Cornel Ban).

"This Time It is Really Different: Europe, the Financial Crisis and Staying on Top in the Twenty-First Century" in Daniel Breznitz and John Zysman (eds.) The Third Globalization: Can Wealthy Nations Stay Rich in the Twenty-First Century? (New York: Oxford University Press 2013).

"Paradigms and Paradox: The Politics of Economics Ideas in Two Moments of Crisis." Governance, 26 (4) December 2012.

"What Can Okun Teach Polanyi? Efficiency, Regulation and Equality in the OECD" Review of International Political Economy, February 2012, (with Jonathan Hopkin).

"Introduction to the Special Issue on the Evolution of Institutions" with Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Orion Lewis, Sven Steinmo, The Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 7 (3) September 2011, pp. 1-17.


The Political Economy of Global Finance

Graduate Colloquium on discrete areas of global finance. Topics covered include hedge funds, high frequency and algo-trading, offshore banking.

Political Economy and Political Science

Graduate survey of key areas where these two fields overlap. Rational Choice, Historicist, and Institutional Approaches are compared.

International Political Economy

Graduate survey of the evolution of IPE as a field in the US and abroad. Topics covered include, trade, finance, governance, and distribution.

Critical Finance for the 21st Century

Exec MBA course taught with Instituto Empresa, Madrid, Spain. Deals with non-linearities, fat tailed events, and crises in financial systems.

Classics of Political Economy

Undergraduate introduction to Political Economy that focuses on the 'classics' texts of political economy from John Locke to Robert Lucas.

Money and Power in the IPE

Undergraduate Lecture course based around the monetary systems of the 20th and 21st Centuries.

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