About My Research


My scholarship lies at the intersection of international relations and political theory. Specifically, I am interested in the influence of political and economic ideas on foreign policy.

My book project examines three “great transformations” in British foreign economic policy: the adoption of the fixed exchange rate regime in the 1690s, the shift toward free trade in the 1780s, and the abandonment of the gold standard in the 1930s. In each case, I show how a major intellectual—John Locke, Adam Smith, and JM Keynes, respectively—persuaded key policymakers to embrace his foreign economic policy framework.

A portion of this project has just been published in the journal International Organization. This article develops an original account of Adam Smith’s influence on a pivotal policymaker: the sometime prime minister, the Earl of Shelburne. By persuading Shelburne that the American Revolutionary War was a violent rejection of mercantilist imperialism, Smith convinced Shelburne to abandon the old system in which trade “followed the flag,” grant the American colonies independence, and pursue trade liberalization with friend and foe alike. Beyond revising our understanding of these crucial historical events, this finding also offers new challenges to hegemonic stability theory. Empirically, the article shows that Britain began its march toward free trade in the 1780s—in a multipolar world, decades “before hegemony.” Theoretically, it demonstrates the importance of the interactions, ideas, and interests of specific individuals at critical junctures.

I am currently working to publish some of my material on JM Keynes, austerity politics, and Britain’s abandonment of the gold standard in 1931. Once I have this under review, I will return to my book manuscript. (See Work in Progress for more details.)

Journal Articles

  • “Before Hegemony: Adam Smith, American Independence, and the Origins of the First Era of Globalization.” International Organization 66(3): 395-428. Article

Publications in Edited Volumes

  • “International Regimes and War” in Christopher J. Coyne, ed. The Handbook on the Political Economy of War. (Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming February 2011). (with Avery White). Publisher
  • “Hayek, Oakeshott, and the Concept of Spontaneous Order,” in Peter McNamara and Louis Hunt, eds. Liberalism, Conservatism, and Hayek’s Idea of Spontaneous Order. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2007). (with Richard A. Boyd).  Publisher | Amazon
  • “The Necessary & Proper Clause,” in Joseph R. Marbach, Ellis Katz, and Troy E. Smith, eds. Federalism in America: An Encyclopedia. (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005).
  • “John Cary,” in Donald Rutherford, ed., Biographical Dictionary of British Economists. (Bristol: Thoemmes, 2004).

Book Reviews


  • Review of Chwieroth, J. Capital Ideas: The IMF and the Rise of Financial Liberalization. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010). Comparative Political Studies (44-1, Dec 2010). Link


Invited Talks


  • Harvard University (March 2012): “Before Hegemony: Adam Smith, American Independence, and the Origins of the First Era of Globalization.”

Conference Presentations

  • “Before Hegemony: Adam Smith, American Independence, and the Origins of the First Era of Globalization.” Paper presented to the History of Economics Society (HES) Conference, June 22-25, 2012, St. Catharines.
  • “Before Hegemony: Adam Smith, American Independence, and the Birth of Free Trade Britain.” Paper presented to the International Studies Association (ISA) Conference, March 19, 2011, Montreal. Paper | Presentation
  • “Before Hegemony: Adam Smith and the Birth of Free Trade Britain.” Paper presented to the International Political Economy Society (IPES) Conference, November 12-13, 2010, Harvard University. Paper | Presentation
  • “Keynessandra No More: JM Keynes, the 1931 Financial Crisis, and the Death of the Gold Standard in Britain.” Paper presented to the American Political Science Association (APSA) Conference, September 2-5, 2010, Washington, DC. Paper (via SSRN)
  • “Before Hegemony: Adam Smith and the Birth of Free Trade Britain.” Paper presented to the New England Political Science Association (NEPSA) Conference, April 22-24, 2010, Newport, RI. Paper
  • “The 1925 Return to Gold: Keynes and Mr. Churchill’s Economic Crisis.” Paper presented to the American Political Science Association (APSA) Conference, September 3-6, 2009, Toronto. Paper (via SSRN)
  • “A Monetary Revolution: John Locke and the Creation of Britain’s Fixed Exchange Rate Regime.” Paper presented to the International Political Economy Society (IPES) Conference, November 14-15, 2008, University of Pennsylvania. Paper | Presentation