Jack Goldstone

  • Senior Research Fellow, Hazel Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University , Director, Center for Global Policy at George Mason University

Jack A. Goldstone is the Virginia E. and John T. Hazel Professor of Public Policy and a Senior Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His primary research interests are economic growth in the global economy, the effects of population change on economic growth, the causes and outcomes of revolutions, and improving governance in developing nations.

He received his Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University. He has previously taught at Northwestern University and the University of California, Davis, where he was Professor of sociology and international relations. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge, Australian National University, UCLA, UC-Berkeley, UC-San Diego, and Caltech, and a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Dr. Goldstone’s is known for work in several disciplines, mainly political sociology and world history. His book Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World won the 1993 Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award from the American Sociological Association, and his edited volume States, Parties, and Social Movements was a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. He also won the Arnaldo Momigliano Prize of the Historical Society for his work on economic growth in world history. More recently, Dr. Goldstone has published on the factors promoting political stability and democracy, including leading a National Academy of Sciences research committee report, Improving Democracy Assistance: Building Knowledge through Research and Evaluation (2009).

Dr. Goldstone has just published an edited volume: Political Demography: How Population Changes are Reshaping International Security and National Politics (Oxford University Press).  He is now working on two volumes on politics: Understanding Revolutions (Sage, forthcoming), and Ten Billion: What Population Changes will mean for Economics and Politics in the 21st Century.  The latter explores the many ways in which population change affects political alignments and political development. 

Dr. Goldstone is also researching the problem of the “Rise of the West.” He has been an original member of the ‘California School’ of world historians who emphasize the similarities in the economics and politics of Europe and China up to the late 18th century. His latest book: Why Europe? The Rise of the West in World History 1500-1850 argues that the “rise of the West” was a relatively late event, based on an exceptional combination of events in 18th century Britain, creating a new pattern of technological advance and industrial innovation, but it is a pattern that other countries can follow and use to create their own path to modern economic growth.

Dr. Goldstone has won research grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the MacArthur Foundation, the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and the National Science Foundation. He has authored or edited ten books and published over one hundred articles in books and scholarly journals. He is currently director of the Center for Global Policy in Mason’s School of Public Policy, and editor of Foreign Policy Bulletin.

Dr. Goldstone has served as consultant and provided briefings for the US Congress, the Department of State, USAID, National Security Council, several European ministries, and the United Nations on issues in conflict, democracy assistance, state-building, and social change. Professor Goldstone is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, on the Research Council of the International Forum of the National Endowment for Democracy, and is an Academic Fellow of the European Policy Council.

For a current list of publications, view Jack's personal website .


Publications & Appearances

Out with the BRICs, Time for the TIMBIs

The last decade has seen the arrival of emerging markets, and investors and pundits alike have shown unbounded excitement about the BRICs—Brazil, Russia, India, and China—as the new sources of the world’s economic growth. However, a focus on the BRICs is already out of date. In half of these countries, demographic patterns have shifted, and the future of the world’s growth now looks set to come from a different set of emerging economies, the TIMBIs: Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, and India.

The Divergence of Cultures

The question of what separated Europe from the rest of the world in the 19th century remains a puzzle, and will remain so if we focus on material factors, or on broad ideological trends. We need to focus on particular elements of modernity unique to Europe, and search for their intellectual origins.

A Global Model for Forecasting Political Instability

Examining onsets of political instability in countries worldwide from 1955 to 2003, we develop a model that distinguishes countries that experienced instability from those that remained stable with a two-year lead time and over 80% accuracy. Intriguingly, the model uses few variables and a simple specification. The model is accurate in forecasting the onsets of both violent civil wars and nonviolent democratic reversals, suggesting common factors in both types of change.


Theories of revolutions are moving away from a predominantly structural view, in favor of a more process oriented view. In this approach, revolutionary situations emerge from a combination of structural background factors that present challenges to states or that increase conflicts among states, elites, and popular groups.