Weatherhead Research Cluster on Business and Government

The Political Economy of Firms and States in a Changing World

[  Weatherhead Research Cluster on Business and Government Website  ]

Business interests are powerful players in all political systems, and an improved understanding of state-business relations is essential to addressing many of the most significant challenges of our time, from the weakening of democratic institutions to the reversal of global economic integration.
What strategies do firms use to secure their interests? Why do these strategies vary across contexts and over time? How do divisions within business shape politics and policy? When do state-business relations lead to capture and corruption? Under what conditions is business influence instead a force for responsive government and broadly shared prosperity?
When business is not part of the solution, it is frequently part of the problem. By better understanding the political economy of business-government relations in the contemporary world, we hope to provide new insights into how business influence can be a positive force for democracy and development.
Our work thus focuses on several broad problems: strategies of business influence; firm responses to deglobalization; the politics of deindustrialization; and concentration, regulation, and technology. We aim to address these themes by bringing together a multidisciplinary group of scholars at all career stages to reexamine and revitalize the study of business and politics.
The 2022–2023 academic year includes several open-ended meetings in the fall to discuss the cluster’s research agenda, with funding opportunities for graduate student and faculty-led research projects launching in the spring. If you are a current Harvard affiliate and would like to get involved, please join the mailing list. More information about the cluster’s research themes and upcoming agenda is available on its website.
The Weatherhead Research Cluster on Business and Government is chaired by Professors Jeffry Frieden, Alisha Holland, Gautam Nair, and Dani Rodrik.

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