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Past Events

March 2018

May 2018


Matrilineal Kinship and Spousal Cooperation

4:30pm, May 10th, 2018
Bush House South 2.03

Dr. Sara Lowes joins us from the University of Bocconi to discuss how matrilineal kinship systems affect spousal cooperation and household welfare in Central Africa. Come along for an insightful discussion at the intersection of development economics and political economy. 


How Far to Nudge?

4:30pm, May 17th, 2018
Bush House North East Wing 1.04

Professor Peter John of the Department of Political Economy at King’s College London sits down with our colleagues this May to discuss his new book, How Far to Nudge?  Join us for an insightful discussion on the history of behavioral economics and how citizens can “nudge” the nudgers back.


Elinor Ostrom’s Pragmatism

4:30pm, May 29th, 2018
Bush House South 2.03

Dr. Derek Wall of Goldsmith’s, University of London, discusses the pragmatic dimension of Elinor Ostrom’s Nobel Prize winning work on governance, outlining its importance for radical democracy and green politics.

June 2018


Innovating Climate Governance

4:30pm, June 7th, 2018
Bush House North East Wing 9.03

How do experiments in governance help us tackle the challenges of climate change? Which forms of policy-making provide maximal benefits for the environment? Join us for a seminar with Professor Frans Berkhout, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy and Professor of Environment, Society and Climate at King’s College London.

October 2018


The Meaning of Property in Things

4:30pm, October 4th, 2018
Strand Building, Council Room

What is property, and why does our species happen to have it? How are the origins of property relevant to governance in the 21st century? Join us for a seminar at the intersection of philosophy and experimental economics by Professor Bart Wilson of Chapman University.


Private Vs. Government Ownership of Natural Resources

5:00pm, October 11th, 2018
Strand Building S2.39

Which institutional arrangements help us use natural resources most effectively?  In this seminar, Professor Dominic Parker of the University of Wisconsin, Madison presents research from a natural experiment in land ownership and oil production on the Ft. Berthold Indian reservation in North Dakota.

Public Lecture

Adam Smith’s Theory of Organised Religion

6:30pm, October 18th, 2018
Bush House South Lecture Theatre 1

Join us for a public lecture by Professor Barry Weingast of Stanford University on Adam Smith’s Theory of Organised Religion: The Medieval Church’s Monopoly and its Breakdown in the Reformation. Drinks and nibbles reception to follow outside the lecture theatre. Registration is required for this event.


The Violence Trap: A Seminar with Barry Weingast

12:00pm, October 19th, 2018
Bush House North East Wing 9.03

Why do developing countries fail to adopt the institutions and policies that promote development? Join us for a seminar by Professor Barry Weingast on his latest work with co-authors Gary Cox and the late Douglass C. North. 


Rational Choice and Political Behaviour

6:30pm, October 25th, 2018
Bush House North East Wing 0.01 (Lecture Theatre 3)

Join us for a public lecture  on the competing roles of consequentialist and moral reasoning in democratic choice. Herbert Gintis is a former Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

November 2018


Comparative Governance Under Colonial Rule in Africa

5:00pm, November 13th, 2018
Bush House North East Wing 1.02

How did British colonial rule alter the relationships between African citizens and their governments?  What are the causes of corruption and bad governance? Join us for a seminar with Dr. Liya Palagashvili, Assistant Professor of Economics at the State University of New York, Purchase College. 


Wealth Destroying States

4:30pm, November 22nd, 2018
Somerset House East Wing -2.07 (Learning Centre)

What are the causes of poor governance in Afghanistan? When do states help create wealth and when do they destroy it? Dr. Ilia Murtazashvili joins us from the University of Pittsburgh for a seminar on the causes of government predation. 

December 2018


Polycentric Public Reason and the Theory of Public Entrepreneurship

5:00pm, December 4th, 2018
Bush House North East Wing 8.19

What kinds of institutions help facilitate citizens’ acceptance of their rules of governance? In this seminar, Dr Brian Kogelmann of the University of Maryland will discuss how polycentric institutional arrangements in the tradition of Elinor and Vincent Ostrom complement the theory of public reason liberalism. 

February 2019

Book Launch

Book Launch: Kidnap, Inside the Ransom Business

6:00pm, February 6th, 2019
The Great Hall, Strand Campus

In this book, Dr Anja Shortland of King’s College London explores the dark underworld of hostage taking, uncovering a powerful private governance system that orders transactions between the legal and criminal economies. Join us on February 6 for the public launch of Kidnap: Inside the Ransom Business.


Stephen Skowronek on The Policy State: An American Predicament

6:00pm, February 28th, 2019
Bush House (S) Lecture Theatre 2 (4.04)

How has policy making transformed American governance over time? Join us for a panel discussion of The Policy State: An American Predicament by Stephen Skowronek and Karen Orren of Yale University. Panelists include Peter John (King’s College London) and Gary Gerstle (Cambridge). Drinks and nibbles to follow discussion.

March 2019

Public Lecture

Public Lecture by Jon Elster: Emotions in History

6:30pm, March 6th, 2019
The Great Hall, Strand Campus

Emotions trigger many human actions, notably in conflictual situations. The talk will first consider models of emotional choice versus rational choice, and then consider selected episodes from 18th century French and American political history to argue for the crucial importance of emotions of anger fear, and enthusiasm. Registration available here.


What Kind of Puppet Are You? Mario Rizzo on Rationality and Behavioral Economics

4:30pm, March 19th, 2019
Strand Building S3.30

The standard rationality assumptions of neoclassical economics were consciously adopted as unrealistic. They were designed to create “puppets” that would give utility functions a firm axiomatic foundations and generate determinate market behavior. Behavioral economics treats these puppet characteristics as a normative ideal by which the behavior of real-world individuals is to be judged.


On Morality and Street-Level Bureaucracy: A Perspective From Political Theory

4:30pm, March 26th, 2019
Strand Building S3.30

When citizens interact with the state, they encounter street-level bureaucrats—the welfare workers, police officers, counselors and educators responsible for implementing public policy and enforcing the law. By combining political theory with participant observation in a public service agency, Bernardo Zacka (MIT) argues that street-level bureaucrats are caught in a troubling predicament.

May 2019

Book Launch

Book Launch: Sheilagh Ogilvie on The European Guilds

6:30pm, May 9th, 2019
Bush House South East Wing 2.12

Guilds ruled many crafts and trades from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution, and have always attracted debate and controversy. They were sometimes viewed as efficient institutions that guaranteed quality and skills. But they also excluded competitors, manipulated markets, and blocked innovations. Did the benefits of guilds outweigh their costs? REGISTRATION REQUIRED.


Larry Bartels: Political Inequality in Affluent Democracies

6:30pm, May 14th, 2019
Bush House (S) Lecture Theatre 2 (4.04)

Professor Larry Bartels (Vanderbilt) examines the relationship between public opinion and social spending in thirty affluent democracies over the past three decades. He finds that governments’ responsiveness to citizens’ preferences was highly skewed in favor of affluent citizens, who were generally less supportive of the welfare state than poor citizens were. REGISTRATION REQUIRED.


Roger Schoenman: We Love You, We Love You Not? Foreign Investment Policy and the New Right in Post-Communism

4:30pm, May 23rd, 2019
Bush House South 2.06

How have post-communist nations in Central and Eastern Europe navigated the dual pressures of attracting FDI and keeping their anti-business and anti-FDI promises to their electorates? Roger Schoenman (UC Santa Cruz) explores the cases of the Polish Law and Justice Party (PiS), Hungary’s Fidesz, Slovakia’s Social Democrats under Robert Fico and Bulgaria’s GERB government.


Nikita Chiu: Peace in Space – A Mere Romantic Concept?

6:00pm, May 29th, 2019
Bush House North East Wing 8.19

Space orbit and radio frequency are essential global commons that necessitate governance through co-operation. Nevertheless, with the introduction of mega satellite constellations by private actors (e.g. OneWeb, SpaceX) and the recent dominance of adversarial narratives in space discussions, it has become exceedingly difficult for the international community to ensure the continuous peaceful and sustainable use of outer space resources. Can peace in space be sustained?

June 2019


Gary Cox: Patent Disclosure and England’s Industrial Revolution

6:30pm, June 5th, 2019
Bush House (S) Lecture Theatre 2 (4.04)

Did the English patent system help spark the Industrial Revolution? Most scholars addressing this question have focused on whether patents improved the economic incentive to invent. Professor Gary Cox (Stanford) examines whether patents improved access to useful knowledge. REGISTRATION REQUIRED.

October 2019


Jenna Bednar: Federalism as a Collective Problem-Solving Mechanism

4:30pm, October 8th, 2019
Strand Building S2.31

Democracies set policy through broad input channeled through institutions. Those institutions shape the scope of the information that is generated by the population. When federalism is robust, states have sufficient independence to express their diverse perspectives, knowledge, and expertise on policymaking, contributing to the richness of the information space.

Public Lecture

Elizabeth Anderson Lecture on The Work Ethic: Its Origins, Legacy, and Future

6:30pm, October 17th, 2019
Bush House Lecture Theatre 2 (4.03)

The work ethic was invented by Puritan ministers in the 17th century.  At the turn of the 20th century, sociologist Max Weber argued that it trapped workers in an “iron cage” of meaningless drudgery for the sake of interminable wealth accumulation.  In the 21st century, anarchist anthropologist David Graeber has condemned it for consigning workers to “bullshit jobs.”  They are only half right. REGISTRATION REQUIRED.


Elizabeth Anderson Lunch Time Seminar on Private Government

1:00pm, October 18th, 2019
King’s Building Small Committee Room (K0.31)

We normally think of government as something only the state does, yet many of us are governed far more—and far more obtrusively—by the private government of the workplace. In this provocative and compelling book, Elizabeth Anderson argues that the failure to see this stems from long-standing confusions. These confusions explain why, despite all evidence to the contrary, we still talk as if free markets make workers free—and why so many employers advocate less government even while they act as dictators in their businesses.


The Economy of Cities: Jane Jacobs’ Overlooked Economic Classic

4:30pm, October 22nd, 2019
Bush House South 2.05

More than a decade after her death in 2006, there is still no urbanist better known today than Jane Jacobs.  Her forceful, penetrating critique of mid-century urban planning in the United States has had a profound and lasting impact globally.  No surprise then that urbanists around the world in 2011 celebrated the 50th anniversary of the publication of Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities, lauded by some as among the 100 most influential books of the 20th century. 

November 2019


Shelby Grossman: The Politics of Order in Informal Markets

5:00pm, November 7th, 2019
King’s Building K0.19

Property rights are important for economic exchange, but in much of the world they are not publicly guaranteed. Private market associations can fill this gap by providing an institutional structure to enforce agreements, but with this power comes the ability to extort from group members. Under what circumstances do private associations provide a stable environment for economic activity?

Public Lecture

Mark Bevir Public Lecture: Governance, A Genealogy

6:30pm, November 14th, 2019
Bush House Lecture Theatre 2 (4.04)

This talk focuses on the intellectual sources of the transformation of the state. It suggests that modernist social science informed the main narratives of the crisis of the administrative and welfare state in the 1970s, and modernist social science also inspired the waves of public sector reform that responded to this crisis. Mark Bevir is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for British Studies, University of California, Berkeley.


Migration, Diversity, and Economic Development: Legacies of Post-WWII Displacement

5:00pm, November 21st, 2019
Bush House South Wing 2.05

Dr. Volha Charnysh’s research focuses on historical political economy, legacies of violence, nation- and state-building, and ethnic politics. Her book project examines the long-run effects of forced migration in the aftermath of World War II in Eastern Europe, synthesizing several decades of micro-level data collected during a year of fieldwork in Poland. In this talk, she discusses the economic effects of post-war displacement in Poland and Germany.


Terence Kealey and Martin Ricketts: Modeling the Industrial Revolution

5:00pm, November 28th, 2019
Bush House South East Wing 1.01

The Industrial Revolution can be characterised as an acceleration in rates of annual economic growth of income per capita from essentially zero up to the mid 17th century to around 1.8 per cent by the 20th century. It cannot readily be explained if knowledge is treated as a private or as a public good. We have previously shown that science can be considered as a novel good, namely a contribution good, which is a non-depletable good jointly available to those who have contributed to its creation.

January 2020


David Thunder: Sovereign Rule and the Still-Birth of Freedom

4:30pm, January 23rd, 2020
Strand Building S2.31

Many modern political theorists, from Hobbes to Rawls, fail to grasp the intimate dependence of human freedom on the complex organization and culture of a wide range of social groups. Once we reject individualistic social ontologies along with the modern doctrines of political sovereignty that they support, we are able to make a fresh start and more adequately investigate what sort of institutional and cultural conditions are likely to support what I call the “freedom to flourish.”

February 2020


Tariq Thachil: Migrants and Machines: How Political Networks Emerge in Urbanizing India

4:30pm, February 27th, 2020
Bush House South East Wing 2.03

What are the political consequences of rapid urbanization across the global south? We argue one consequence has been the rapid formation of political machines, which have been studied in cities ranging from Buenos Aires to Accra to Chicago. Yet we still lack a systematic understanding of how party machines form, and how these formative processes affect how they function. Migrants and Machines seeks to fill this gap.

March 2020


Waverly Duck: No Way Out: Precarious Living in the Shadow of Poverty and Drug Dealing

4:30pm, March 10th, 2020
Bush House South East Wing 1.08

This ethnographic study of an impoverished African American neighborhood challenges the common misconception of urban ghettos as chaotic places where drug dealing, street crime, and random violence make daily life dangerous for everyone. Waverly Duck is an urban sociologist and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh.

October 2020

Zoom Lecture

Ian Shapiro Zoom Lecture: On Political Parties

6:00pm, October 28th, 2020
Zoom Lecture (6pm GMT/ 2pm EST)

Join us for a Zoom Lecture by Ian Shapiro, the Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University. The lecture takes place on Zoom on October 28, 2020 at 6pm GMT / 2pm EST. Members of the public are welcome. Registration is required.

November 2020

Zoom Lecture

Jeffrey Friedman Zoom Lecture: Populists as Technocrats

5:00pm, November 10th, 2020
Zoom Lecture (5pm GMT / 12pm EST)

Join us for a Zoom Lecture by Jeffrey Friedman, visiting scholar at Harvard University and Max Weber Fellow of the Institute for the Advancement of the Social Sciences at Boston University. The lecture takes place on Zoom on November 10, 2020 at 5pm GMT / 12pm EST. Members of the public are welcome. Registration is required.

Zoom Lecture

James C. Scott Zoom Lecture: A Golden Age of Barbarians?

6:00pm, November 17th, 2020
Zoom Lecture (6pm GMT/ 1pm EST)

Join us for a Zoom Lecture by James C. Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University. The lecture takes place on Zoom on November 17, 2020 at 6pm GMT / 1pm EST. Members of the public are welcome. Registration is required.

Zoom Lecture

Melani Cammett Zoom Lecture: The Politics of Service Delivery

6:00pm, November 23rd, 2020
Zoom Lecture (6pm GMT/ 1pm EST)

Join us for a Zoom Lecture by Melani Cammett, the Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University. The lecture takes place on Zoom on November 23, 2020 at 6pm GMT / 1pm EST. Members of the public are welcome. Registration is required.

December 2020

Zoom Lecture

Cristina Bicchieri Zoom Lecture: Norm Nudging and Social Influences

6:00pm, December 3rd, 2020
Zoom Lecture (6pm GMT/ 1pm EST)

Join us for a Zoom Lecture by Cristina Bicchieri, S.J.P. Harvie Professor of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics in the Philosophy and Psychology Departments at the University of Pennsylvania. The lecture takes place on Zoom on December 3, 2020 at 6pm GMT / 1pm EST. Members of the public are welcome. Registration is required.

Zoom Lecture

Barak Richman Zoom Lecture: Stateless Commerce

6:00pm, December 8th, 2020
Zoom Lecture (6pm GMT/ 1pm EST)

Join us for a Zoom Lecture by Barak Richman, the Edgar P. and Elizabeth C. Bartlett Professor of Law and Professor of Business Administration at Duke University. The lecture takes place on Zoom on December 8, 2020 at 6pm GMT / 1pm EST. Members of the public are welcome. Registration is required.

February 2021

October 2021

November 2021

March 2022

Research Workshop

Markets as Knowledge Commons

5:00pm, March 31st, 2022
Bush House South East Wing 1.05

*This is an in-person event held at Bush House (South East Wing) Room 1.05 at King’s College London, from 5-7pm.…

April 2022

Public Lecture

Public Lecture: “What do jurors know?”

Melissa Schwartzberg, New York University
4:00pm, April 26th, 2022
Nash Lecture Theatre, Strand Campus

*This is an in-person public lecture held at the Nash Lecture Theatre, 2nd Floor of Strand Campus at King’s College…

May 2022

Research Workshop

Marx’s Epistemology

Jeffrey Friedman, Critical Review
4:00pm, May 27th, 2022
Bush House South East Wing 1.08

*This is an in-person event held at Bush House (South East Wing) Room 1.08 at King’s College London, from 4-6pm.…

July 2022

October 2022

November 2022

Research Workshop

Pluralism, Modus Vivendi and Polycentric Governance

Prof. Paul Dragos Aligica, University of Bucharest and Mercatus Center
4:00pm, November 25th, 2022
King’s Building (Strand Campus), Room K3.11

Professor Paul Dragos Aligica will discuss his work on the philosophy, the theory, and the institutional design of “modus vivendi” governance arrangements, which support the conditions for “live and let live” social order, based on toleration and freedom of expression, association and exchange, in circumstances of deep pluralism and social cleavages.

December 2022

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