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James Mahoney

Gordon Fulcher Professor of Decision-Making; Professor of Political Science and Sociology

B.A.: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 1990; Ph.D.: University of California, Berkeley, 1997
Curriculum Vitae

Interests

Research Interest(s): Comparative-historical analysis. Long-run political and socioeconomic development in Latin America. Case study and small-N methodology. Path dependence and institutional theory.

Program Area(s): Methods; Comparative Politics

Regional Specialization(s): Latin America

Subfield Specialties: Comparative Historical Analysis; Latin American Politcics

Joint Appointment

Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Sociology

Biography

James Mahoney is a comparative‐historical researcher who works on national development, political regimes, and methodology. He is known for his historical research on Latin America, his theoretical contributions to the study of path dependence and institutional change, and his methodological work on small-N and comparative research. Mahoney has been President or Chair of four different Organized Sections of APSA and ASA, served on the Council of APSA, and has been Chair and Associate Chair in Sociology and Political Science at Northwestern. Mahoney is the author of several award winning books and dozens of peer-reviewed journals articles. He is currently starting a new project on the role of global idea systems as causes of long-run political dynamics in Latin America.

Books  

  • Colin Elman, John Gerring, and James Mahoney, eds., The Production of Knowledge: Enhancing Progress in Social Science (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020)
  • James Mahoney and Kathleen Thelen, eds., Advances in Comparative-Historical Analysis (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015).
  • Gary Goertz and James Mahoney, A Tale of Two Cultures: Qualitative and Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012).
  • James Mahoney, Colonialism and Postcolonial Development: Spanish America in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
  • James Mahoney and Kathleen Thelen, eds., Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency, and Power (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
  • James Mahoney and Dietrich Rueschemeyer, eds., Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003).
  • James Mahoney, The Legacies of Liberalism:  Path Dependence and Political Regimes in Central America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001).

Select Publications

  • James Mahoney and Rachel Sweet Vanderpoel, “Set Diagrams and Qualitative Research,” Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming.
  • James Mahoney, “The Logic of Process Tracing Tests in the Social Sciences,” Sociological Methods and Research, 41:4 (November 2012), 566-590.
  • James Mahoney, “After KKV: The New Methodology of Qualitative Research,” World Politics 62:1 (January 2010), pp. 120-147.
  • Matthew Lange, James Mahoney, and Matthias vom Hau, “Colonialism and Development: A Comparative Analysis of Spanish and British Colonies,” American Journal of Sociology 111:5 (March 2006): 1412-1462.
  • Kirk Bowman, Fabrice Lehoucq, and James Mahoney, “Measuring Political Democracy: Case Expertise, Data Adequacy, and Central America,” Comparative Political Studies 38:8 (October 2005): 939-970.

Courses taught

  • 101: Why Are Some Countries Richer Than Others?
  • 311: Methods of Political Inference
  • 390:  Global Development

Awards

  • Awards Aaron Wildavsky Enduring Contribution Award, Section on Public Policy, American Political Science Association, June 2019.
  • Elected to the Sociological Research Association, June 2018.
  • Leo Goodman Award, Section on Methodology, American Sociological Association, August 2012.
  • Faculty Book Award, Section on Development, American Sociological Association. Received for Colonialism and Postcolonial Development: Spanish America in Comparative Perspective, August 2012.
  • Gregory Luebbert Best Book Award, Section on Comparative Politics, American Political Science Association. Received for Colonialism and Postcolonial Development: Spanish America in Comparative Perspective, September 2011.
  • J. David Greenstone Best Book Award, Section on Politics and History, American Political Science Association. Received for Colonialism and Postcolonial Development: Spanish America in Comparative Perspective, September 2011.
  • Robert Jervis and Paul Schroeder Best Book Award, Section on International History and Politics, American Political Science Association. Received for Colonialism and Postcolonial Development: Spanish America in Comparative Perspective, September 2011.
  • Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award, Section on Political Sociology, American Sociological Association. Received for Colonialism and Postcolonial Development: Spanish America in Comparative Perspective, August 2011.
  • David Collier Mid-Career Achievement Award, Section on Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, American Political Science Association, September 2010.
  • Alexander L. George Award, Qualitative Methods Section, American Political Science Association (best article developing or using qualitative methods published in 2008). Received for “Toward a Unified Theory of Causality,” September 2009.
  • Research Grant (approximately $510,000), National Science Foundation. “Colonialism and Its Legacies: A Comprehensive Historical Dataset” (co-PI with John Gerring). April 2007-March 2011.
  • Career Award Grant ($292,750), National Science Foundation. “Long-Run Development and the Legacy of Spanish Colonialism in Latin America,” April 2001 – April 2006.
  • Alexander L. George Award, Qualitative Methods Section, American Political Science Association (best article developing or using qualitative methods published in 2004). Received for “The Possibility Principle: Choosing Negative Cases in Qualitative Research” (with Gary Goertz), September 2005.
  • Giovanni Sartori Book Award, Qualitative Methods Section, American Political Science Association (best book developing or using qualitative methods published in 2003). Received for Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences (co-edited with Dietrich Rueschemeyer), September 2004.
  • Barrington Moore Jr. Prize, Comparative and Historical Sociology Section, American Sociological Association (best book in comparative-historical sociology published in 2000 or 2001). Received for The Legacies of Liberalism: Path Dependence and Political Regimes in Central America, August 2002.
  • Gabriel Almond Dissertation Award (best dissertation in comparative politics), American Political Science Association, 1998.
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