Henry Thomson

I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. I am also a faculty affiliate of the Center on the Future of War, the Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies and the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty. My research focuses on the political economy of authoritarianism and democratization. I teach classes in Comparative Politics, Political Economy and International Relations. I received my PhD in Political Science in 2014 from the University of Minnesota, and from 2014-2017 I was a Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford.

I have a special interest in the role that agriculture plays in processes of development and democratization. I am author of Food and Power: Regime Type, Agricultural Policy and Political Stability (Cambridge University Press, 2019). My dissertation on the same topic won the 2015 Juan Linz Prize in Comparative Democratization from the American Political Science Association. This project examines how different types of governments intervene in markets for food and agricultural produce, and the effects of these policies on political stability in the developing world. I published a paper from this project in Comparative Politics in January 2017. In addition, I am interested in how patterns of landholding inequality structure politics. I published a paper in International Studies Quarterly in September 2016 where I show that there is an inverted-U shaped relationship between the concentration of landholdings and the likelihood of civil conflict in a country. In 2015 I also published a paper on how landholding inequality facilitated repression of Social Democrats in Germany in Studies in Comparative International Development.

My ongoing research projects look at patterns of collective opposition to authoritarian rule and how authoritarian governments organize repression of such opposition. One paper examines the role of economic grievances and mobilization structures in provoking the June 17, 1953 uprising against the socialist dictatorship in East Germany, and was published in Comparative Political Studies. Together with colleagues at the Peace Research Institute Oslo, I am investigating patterns of urban mobilization and violence in the developing world. In other projects, I look at how authoritarian governments repress opposition, using data on the growth of the Social Democratic Party in Germany in the 1870s-90s and on the secret police agencies of the East European socialist dictatorships during the Cold War.

For more details on my research, visit the research section of this site, or ungated versions of all my papers can be viewed here.