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Thomas Pepinsky

Walter F. LaFeber 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

Fall 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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