Understanding trajectories of political and economic change or development is one of the biggest challenges for social science. Within American academia there is an inchoate discussion involving three different approaches. Modernization theory has been very well researched and posits that socio-economic change leads to political change and ultimately to liberal democracy. Institutional capacity places emphasis first and foremost on establishing political order; without order development is impossible. Elite bargaining approaches focus on deals among elites that can be locked in through path-dependent processes.
The work of Professor Stephen Krasner deals primarily with sovereignty, American foreign policy and the political determinants of international economic relations. He served as Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State from 2005 to 2007, where he was a driving force behind foreign assistance reform designed to more effectively target American foreign aid. He is also involved in activities related to the promotion of good governance and democratic institutions around the world. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His major publications include Defending the National Interest: Raw Materials Investment and American Foreign Policy (1978), Structural Conflict:The Third World Against Global Liberalism (1985) and Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy (1999). He received his Ph.D. in government from Harvard University.