My brand of political economy stems from the continental and institutionalist traditions, especially the classical work of Weber, Polanyi, Veblen and C.Wright Mills. Rather than seeking universal laws of political and economic phenomena, this tradition seeks total knowledge of the universe of historical and comparative cases in order to generate causal accounts that are bound by historical contexts.
I utilize multiple methods in a question-driven research process. These include traditional comparative-historical methods, in-depth interviews, surveys, cross-national and time-series quantitative methods, industrial organization techniques (market-structure research), and power-structure research (utilizing network and content analysis).
Most of my career I have published on the interaction of economic and political forces, as well as the collective actors and organizations (like classes, status groups, corporations and policy networks) that shape the economic and political terrain.
Most of my published work in comparative political economy to date has been on the socio-economics of the transition to capitalism in Eastern Europe – focusing on privatization and foreign investment. I have recently extended this research stream with a large-scale big-data investigation into corruption in public procurement in the EU.
In addition to the study of the political economy of postcommunism, I have a variety of publications and an active research agenda on the political economy of public health. This project has as its goal the bringing together of the type of variables, analyses and methods used in political economy with public health research. Part of this project is the investigation of the public health outcomes of various political and economic processes, including macro- and micro-economic policy. The other part of this project involves studying the political, economic and social determinants of rules governing the allocation of health resources at the national and international level. This political economy of public health research agenda seeks to build on the “social determinants of disease” research, making it dynamic. In other words, I seek to uncover the “social determinants of the social determinants of health.” I have begun to extend this work from the postcommunist world to Africa, Latin America, India and the UK. I have also published on and continue to research the global governance of public health, with an international power structure analysis of the budgeting process of the World Health Organization.
Finally, I have a deep research interest in the political economy of the less developed countries, especially Africa. In addition to economic development, I am particularly interested in state violence and political mobilization. In collaboration with a student I have investigated the social determinants of the Maoist insurgency in India.