Beth A. Simmons is the Andrea Mitchell University Professor of Law, Political Science and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. She is best known for her research on international political economy during the interwar years and on policy diffusion globally, along with her work demonstrating the influence that international law has on human rights outcomes around the world.
Simmons is working on a project that attempts to document and explain the paradox of hardening international borders between states in an era of globalization. She uses satellite imagery to document evidence of state presence at international border crossings and the location in time and space of border walls and fences round the world. Her goal is to write a book probing the politics, economics, and social anxieties behind international border “thickening.”
Her books Who Adjusts? Domestic Sources of Foreign Economic Policy during the Interwar Years (Princeton University Press, 1994) and Mobilizing for Human Rights: International Law in Domestic Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2009) won the American Political Science Association’s Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award. The latter was also recognized by the American Society of International Law, the International Social Science Council, and the International Studies Association (ISA) as the best book of the year in 2010. A past president of the ISA, Simmons has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences. She earned her PhD in government at Harvard University.