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Fellowship / Fellows

Torben Iversen

  • 2020–2021
  • Social Sciences
  • Catherine A. and Mary C. Gellert Fellow
  • Harvard University
Headshot of Torben Iversen
Photo courtesy of Torben Iversen

Torben Iversen is the Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Government at Harvard University. His research interests include comparative political economy, electoral politics, and applied formal theory. His most recent book, with David Soskice, is Democracy and Prosperity: Reinventing Capitalism through a Turbulent Century (Princeton University Press, 2019).

Iversen’s fellowship project explores, theoretically and empirically, the consequences of Big Data for the politics of social protection. In standard economic models, social insurance markets break down because private insurers have limited information about individual risks. The state “solves” this problem by providing insurance publicly, redistributing risk and life chances in the process. But what happens when information about risk can be measured and shared credibly with insurers at a much more disaggregated level? He hypothesizes that the data revolution will enable segmented private insurance markets, but only at the cost of greater inequality.

Iversen is the author of Women, Work, and Politics: The Political Economy of Gender Inequality (Yale University Press, 2011) with Frances Rosenbluth, Capitalism, Democracy, and Welfare (Cambridge University Press, 2005), and Contested Economic Institutions: The Politics of Macroeconomics and Wage Bargaining in Advanced Democracies (Cambridge University Press, 1999) along with many articles on comparative political economy. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been a Hoover National Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a BP Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He earned a PHD in political science from Duke University.

Our 2020–2021 Fellows

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