Desmond King

Professor Desmond King, DLitt FBA, specializes in the study of the American state in US executive politics, race and politics in American political development, comparative welfare politics and labour market policy, democratization and immigration policy. Before coming to Nuffield in 2002, he was a Fellow and Professor of Politics at St John's College, Oxford, of which he is now an Emeritus Fellow, and a Lecturer in Government at the London School of Economics. He also worked at the University of Edinburgh and has held visiting positions at Sciences Po, Cornell and Göteborgs Universitet. He held a Nuffield Foundation Social Science Research Fellowship in 1997-98, a British Academy Research Readership in 2000-2002, and a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship 2005-08.  He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA) in 2003, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA) in 2014 and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS) in 2015.

Selected publications

American political economy:

  • Fed Power: How Finance Wins. Coedited with Lawrence R. Jacobs. New York: OUP, 2016.
  • Obama at the Crossroads: Politics, Markets and the Battle for America's Future. Coedited with Lawrence R Jacobs. New York: OUP, 2012.
  • 'The Political Economy of Neoliberalism: Britain and the United States in the 1980s.' With Stewart Wood. In H Kitschelt, P Lange, G Marks & J Stephens eds. Continuity and Change in Contemporary Capitalism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999) 371-397.

Comparative welfare and labour market policy:

  • 'Cheap Labor: The New Politics of ‘Bread and Roses’ in Industrial Democracies,' (with David Rueda) Perspectives on Politics, 6 (2008): 279-297.
  • In the Name of Liberalism: Illiberal Social Policy in the USA and Britain. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • Actively Seeking Work? The Politics of Unemployment and Welfare Policy in the United States and Britain. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Racial inequality in the US:

  • A discussion post-Ferguson issues in: Le Monde Diplomatique in the Janvier 2015 issue entitled 'Pour les Afro-Americains, amer bilan d’une presidence noire,' which can be accessed at:
  • 'Shelby County v. Holder and white political power in modern America.' With Rogers M. Smith. Du Bois Review, forthcoming.
  • '"Without Regard to Race": Critical Ideational Development in Modern American Racial Politics.' With Rogers M. Smith. Journal of Politics. Vol 76 (2014): 958-971.
  • 'America’s civil rights state: Amelioration, Stagnation or Failure?' in Developments in American Politics 7. London: Palgrave, 2014: 263-283.
  • Still a House Divided. Race and Politics in Obama's America. With Rogers M. Smith. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.
  • 'Racial Orders in American Political Development.' (with Rogers M Smith) American Political Science Review 99 (2005): 75-92.
  • 'Barack Obama and the Future of American Racial Politics,' (with Rogers M Smith)  Du Bois Review, 6 (2009): 25-35.
  • Separate and Unequal: African Americans and the US Federal Government. New York: OUP, 2007
  • Making Americans: Immigration, Race and the Origins of the Diverse Democracy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002.
  • 'De-Centering the South: America's Nationwide White Supremacist Order after Reconstruction,' (with Stephen Tuck) Past and Present 194 (2007) 219-257.
  • 'The Racial Bureaucracy: African Americans and the Federal Government In the Era of Segregated Race Relations.' Governance 12 (1999), 345-77.

American political development and state building:

  • 'Ironies of the American State' (with Robert C Lieberman) World Politics 61 (July 2009) 547-588.
  • Democratization in America. Coedited with Robert Lieberman et al. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.
  • The Unsustainable American State. Coedited with Lawrence R. Jacobs. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • 'The State and Democratization: The United States in Comparative Perspective' (with Francisco E Gonzalez) British Journal of Political Science 34 (2004), 193-210.
  • 'From Workers to Enemies: National Security, State Building and America's War on Illegal Immigrants' (with Ines Valdez) in Michael Bass ed. Narrating Peoplehood Amidst Diversity: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives, Aarhus: University of Aarhus Press, 2011: 145-182.

Illiberal social policy:

  • 'Eugenic Ideas, Political Interests and Policy Variance: Immigration and Sterilization Policy in Britain and the US,' (with Randall Hansen). World Politics 53 (2001) 237-263.
  • 'Making People Work: Democratic Consequences of Workfare,' in Lawrence M. Mead ed. Welfare Reform and Political Theory. 65-81. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2005.
  • Sterilized by the State: Eugenics, Race and the Population Scare in Twentieth Century North America. With Randall Hansen. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Hb & pb, details of which can be found at: