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Thomas Pepinsky

Tisch University Professor

Thomas Pepinsky

White Hall, Room 322



I am a professor in the Government department and a faculty member of the Southeast Asia Program. I study comparative politics and political economy, with a focus on emerging market economies in Southeast Asia. I received my Ph.D. in political science from Yale University in May 2007, and joined the Cornell faculty in 2008.


  • Government

Graduate Fields

  • Asian Studies
  • Government


My research centers around two themes: the relationship between economic interests and political outcomes, and the interaction between domestic politics and the global economy. Most of my work focuses on emerging markets, and I have a special interest in Southeast Asia and the Muslim world. My current work focuses on issues relating to identity, politics, and political economy in comparative and international politics. 


Spring 2021


  •  Piety and Public Opinion: Understanding Indonesian Islam (with R. William Liddle and Saiful Mujani). New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.
  •  “The Trump Presidency and American Democracy: A Historical and Comparative Analysis” (with Robert Lieberman, Suzanne Mettler, Kenneth Roberts, and Richard Valelly). Perspectives on Politics, forthcoming.
  •  “Elections as Causes of Democratization: Evidence from Southeast Asia” (with Lee Morgenbesser). Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming.
  • “The Return of the Single Country Study.” Annual Review of Political Science, forthcoming.
  • “Colonial Migration and the Origins of Governance: Theory and Evidence from Java.” Comparative Political Studies, 49, no. 9 (July), 1201–1237, 2016.
  • “Trade Competition and American Decolonization.” World Politics 67, no. 3 (July), 387–411, 2015.
  •  “Context and Method in Southeast Asian Politics.” Pacific Affairs 87, no. 3 (September), 441–461, 2014.
  •  “The Institutional Turn in Comparative Authoritarianism.” British Journal of Political Science 44, no. 3 (July), 631–653, 2014.


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