Bio


James Fearon is Theodore and Frances Geballe Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, a professor of Political Science, and Senior Fellow in the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (elected 2012), a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected 2002), and a Program Member of the Institutions, Organizations, and Growth group at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
Fearon's research interests include civil and interstate war, ethnic conflict, the international spread of democracy and the evaluation of foreign aid projects promoting improved governance.

Academic Appointments


Administrative Appointments


  • Chair, Department of Political Science, Stanford University (2007 - 2010)

Honors & Awards


  • Member, Council of Foreign Relations (2017-)
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences (2012)
  • Program Member, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (2005-)
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2002)
  • Karl Deutsch Award, International Studies Association (1999)
  • Heinz Eulau Award for best article, American Political Science Review (1997)
  • Gregory Luebbert Award for best article, Comparative Politics (1996)
  • Helen Dwight Reid Award, American Political Science Association (1993)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Member, Council on Foreign Relations (2017 - Present)
  • Member, International Organization (2012 - Present)
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences (2012 - Present)
  • Member, Journal of Conflict Resolution (2011 - Present)
  • Member, International Theory (2009 - 2015)
  • Member, Annual Review of Political Science (2007 - 2014)
  • Member, American Journal of Political Science (2006 - 2009)
  • Member, International Organization (2005 - 2009)
  • Program Member, Canadian Institution for Advanced Research (2004 - Present)
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2002 - Present)
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1999 - 2000)
  • Member, International Organization (1998 - 2003)
  • Member, American Journal of Political Science (1998 - 2002)
  • Member, American Political Science Review (1997 - 2001)
  • Residential Faculty Fellowship, Chicago Humanities Institute (1996 - 1997)

Program Affiliations


  • WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights and International Justice

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, Political Science (1992)
  • M.A., University of California, Berkeley, Political Science and Economics (1991)
  • A.B., Harvard University (1985)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


political violence

2018-19 Courses


Stanford Advisees


  • Doctoral Dissertation Reader (AC)
    Vincent Bauer, Benjamin Buch, Marc Grinberg, Christiana Parreira
  • Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
    Brandon de la Cuesta
  • Doctoral Dissertation Advisor (AC)
    Nandita Balakrishnan, Lindsay Hundley, Iris Malone
  • Doctoral Dissertation Co-Advisor (AC)
    Mashail Malik
  • Doctoral (Program)
    Leah Matchett, Sarah Thompson
  • Postdoctoral Research Mentor
    Asfandyar Mir

All Publications


  • Climate as a risk factor for armed conflict. Nature Mach, K. J., Kraan, C. M., Adger, W. N., Buhaug, H., Burke, M., Fearon, J. D., Field, C. B., Hendrix, C. S., Maystadt, J. F., O'Loughlin, J., Roessler, P., Scheffran, J., Schultz, K. A., von Uexkull, N. 2019

    Abstract

    Research findings on the relationship between climate and conflict are diverse and contested. Here we assess the current understanding of the relationship between climate and conflict, based on the structured judgments of experts from diverse disciplines. These experts agree that climate has affected organized armed conflict within countries. However, other drivers, such as low socioeconomic development and low capabilities of the state, are judged to be substantially more influential, and the mechanisms of climate-conflict linkages remain a key uncertainty. Intensifying climate change is estimated to increase future risks of conflict.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-019-1300-6

    View details for PubMedID 31189956

  • Cooperation, Conflict, and the Costs of Anarchy INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION Fearon, J. D. 2018; 72 (3): 523–59
  • How Does Development Assistance Affect Collective Action Capacity? Results from a Field Experiment in Post-Conflict Liberia AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW Fearon, J. D., Humphreys, M., Weinstein, J. M. 2015; 109 (3): 450-469
  • Socially relevant ethnic groups, ethnic structure, and AMAR JOURNAL OF PEACE RESEARCH Birnir, J. K., Wilkenfeld, J., Fearon, J. D., Laitin, D. D., Gurr, T. R., Brancati, D., Saideman, S. M., Pate, A., Hultquist, A. S. 2015; 52 (1): 110-115
  • A Conversation with Kenneth Waltz ANNUAL REVIEW OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, VOL 15 Waltz, K., Fearon, J. 2012; 15: 1-12
  • Self-Enforcing Democracy QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS Fearon, J. D. 2011; 126 (4): 1661-1708

    View details for DOI 10.1093/qje/qjr038

    View details for Web of Science ID 000297870200002

  • Sons of the Soil, Migrants, and Civil War WORLD DEVELOPMENT Fearon, J. D., Laitin, D. D. 2011; 39 (2): 199-211
  • Two States, Two Types, Two Actions SECURITY STUDIES Fearon, J. D. 2011; 20 (3): 431-440
  • Comments on R. Harrison Wagner's War and the State: The Theory of International Politics INTERNATIONAL THEORY Fearon, J. D. 2010; 2 (2): 333-342
  • Can Development Aid Contribute to Social Cohesion after Civil War? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Post-Conflict Liberia 121st Annual Meeting of the American-Economic-Association Fearon, J. D., Humphreys, M., Weinstein, J. M. AMER ECONOMIC ASSOC. 2009: 287–91
  • Evaluating Community-Driven Reconstruction: Lessons from post-conflict Liberia. Development Outreach Fearon , J. D. 2009 ; 11 (2): 50-52
  • Review Symposium on “State Failure and Challenges to Democratization in Africa,” comments on Robert Bates’ When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa Perspectives on Politics Fearon , J. D. 2009 ; 7 (2): 361-363
  • Integrating Quantitative and Qualitative Methods Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology Fearon , J. D., Laitin , D. D. edited by BoxSteffensmeier, J. M., Brady, H. E., Collier, D. Oxford: Oxford University Press . 2008
  • International Institutions and Collective Authorization of the Use of Force Can the World Be Governed? Possibilities for Effective Multilateralism Fearon , J. D. edited by Alexandroff, A. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfred Laurier University Press. 2008
  • The Rise of Emergency Relief Aid. Humanitarianism in Question: Politics, Power, Ethics Fearon , J. D. edited by Barnett, M., Weiss, T. G. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 2008
  • Economic Development, Insurgency, and Civil War. In Institutions and Economic Performance Fearon, J. D. edited by Helpman, E. Harvard University Press. 2008
  • Iraq's Civil War FOREIGN AFFAIRS Fearon, J. D. 2007; 86 (2): 2-15
  • Ethnic minority rule and Civil War onset AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW Fearon, J. D., Kasara, K., Laitin, D. D. 2007; 101 (1): 187-193
  • Reforming International Institutions to Promote International Peace and Security Peace and Security Fearon , J. D. 2006
  • Ethnic Mobilization and Ethnic Violence. Oxford Handbook of Political Economy Fearon , J. D. edited by Weingast, B. R., Wittman, D. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2006
  • Primary commodity exports and civil war JOURNAL OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION Fearon, J. D. 2005; 49 (4): 483-507
  • Comments of the Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change Reforming the United Nations for Peace and Security, Proceedings of a Workshop to Analyze the Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change Fearon , J. D. New Haven, CT: Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. 2005
  • Separatist wars, partition, and world order Conference on EthnoNational Conflicts Fearon, J. D. ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD. 2004: 394–415
  • Why do some civil wars last so much longer than others? JOURNAL OF PEACE RESEARCH Fearon, J. D. 2004; 41 (3): 275-301
  • Neotrusteeship and the problem of weak states INTERNATIONAL SECURITY Fearon, J. D., Laitin, D. D. 2004; 28 (4): 5-43
  • Two Questions about Ethnicity and Nationalism: Explaining Motivations versus Explaining Variation The Evolution of Political Knowledge: Democracy, Autonomy, and Conflict in Comparative and International Politics Fearon , J. D. Ohio State University Press . 2004
  • Ethnic and cultural diversity by country Annual Meeting of the American-Political-Science-Association/Western-Political-Science-Association Fearon, J. D. SPRINGER. 2003: 195–222
  • Ethnicity, insurgency, and civil war AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW Fearon, J. D., Laitin, D. D. 2003; 97 (1): 75-90
  • Selection effects and deterrence INTERNATIONAL INTERACTIONS Fearon, J. D. 2002; 28 (1): 5-29
  • Rationalism and Constructivism in International Relations Theory Rationalism and Constructivism in International Relations Theory Fearon , J. D., Wendt , A. Sage Publications . 2002
  • Violence and the social construction of ethnic identity INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION Fearon, J. D., Laitin, D. D. 2000; 54 (4): 845-877
  • Electoral Accountability and the Control of Politicians: Selecting Good Types versus Sanctioning Poor Perfor- mance Democracy, Accountability, and Repre-sentation Fearon , J. D. edited by Manin, B., Przeworski, A. Cambridge University Press . 1999
  • Bargaining, enforcement, and international cooperation INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION Fearon, J. D. 1998; 52 (2): 269-?
  • Deliberation as Discussion Deliberative Democracy Fearon , J. D. edited by Elster, J. Cambridge University Press . 1998
  • Commitment Problems and the Spread of Ethnic Conflict In The International Spread of Ethnic Conflict: Fear, Diffusion, and Escalation Fearon, J. D. edited by Lake, D., Rothchild, D. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1998
  • Domestic politics, foreign policy, and theories of international relations ANNUAL REVIEW OF POLITICAL SCIENCE Fearon, J. D. 1998; 1: 289-313
  • Signaling foreign policy interests - Tying hands versus sinking costs JOURNAL OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION Fearon, J. D. 1997; 41 (1): 68-90
  • Explaining interethnic cooperation 91st Annual Meeting of the American-Political-Science-Association Fearon, J. D., Laitin, D. D. CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS. 1996: 715–35
  • Counterfactuals and Causation in Social Science: Exploring an Analogy between Cellular Automata and Histor- ical Processe Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics Fearon , J. D. edited by Tetlock, P., Belkin, A. Princeton University Press . 1996
  • RATIONALIST EXPLANATIONS FOR WAR 89th Annual Meeting of the American-Political-Science-Association Fearon, J. D. MIT PRESS. 1995: 379–414
  • DOMESTIC POLITICAL AUDIENCES AND THE ESCALATION OF INTERNATIONAL DISPUTES AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW Fearon, J. D. 1994; 88 (3): 577-592
  • SIGNALING VERSUS THE BALANCE OF POWER AND INTERESTS - AN EMPIRICAL-TEST OF A CRISIS BARGAINING MODEL JOURNAL OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION Fearon, J. D. 1994; 38 (2): 236-269
  • COUNTERFACTUALS AND HYPOTHESIS-TESTING IN POLITICAL-SCIENCE 1990 ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE ASSOC Fearon, J. D. PRINCETON UNIV PRESS. 1991: 169–95
  • INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND ECONOMIC-POLICY REFORM IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA JOURNAL OF MODERN AFRICAN STUDIES Fearon, J. D. 1988; 26 (1): 113-137