Jacob S. Hacker is the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science and director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University. His work examines how the dynamics of American politics affect ordinary Americans. His most recent book, written with Paul Pierson, is American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper (Simon & Schuster, 2016).
As a fellow, Hacker is completing another coauthored book, “Fault Lines: How the New Geography of Prosperity and Partisanship Is Remaking American Politics.” In it, Hacker and Pierson argue that, in today’s knowledge economy, the dominant fissure in American politics is between high-growth urban areas and the rest of the nation. Populous metro areas are becoming richer and more Democratic; small towns and rural areas, relatively poorer and more Republican. These two coalitions—“blue” and “red”—are linked to different economic models and electoral strategies. Increasingly, they exercise unified control in states where they’re strongest, further embedding these models and strategies. What makes this clash particularly explosive is that our political institutions penalize urban places: Blue America may be economically strong, but for a variety of reasons, it is politically weak. Thus, America’s economic future depends on the degree to which the urban knowledge economy can be made compatible with America’s distinctive political order.
Hacker received his PhD from Yale University and was a junior fellow of the Harvard University Society of Fellows. He was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.