About My Research


My scholarship lies at the intersection of international relations and political theory. Specifically, I am interested in the influence that ideas--and, more specifically, the intellectuals who wield ideas--can have on foreign policy. Drawing upon my previous training, I approach this agenda with the perspective and tools of an historian.

My book project examines three “great transformations” in British foreign economic policy: the adoption of the fixed exchange rate regime in the 1690s, the shift toward free trade in the 1780s, and the abandonment of the gold standard in the 1930s. In each case, I show how a major intellectual—John Locke, Adam Smith, and JM Keynes, respectively—persuaded key policymakers to embrace his foreign economic policy framework. A portion of the material on Adam Smith was published in the journal International Organization. Some of the material on the 1930s comprises a paper that is now forthcoming with that same journal. More...

I am also in the early stages of my second major project, provisionally entitled “Dollar Odyssey: The Ideological Origins of American Financial Hegemony.” This project traces the odyssey of the US dollar from its inception through its ascent as the global reserve currency to the present. As with my work on Britain, this project analyses the key shifts in the American monetary system: the battle between Hamilton and Jefferson over the design of the system following independence; Andrew Jackson’s evisceration of the central bank in the 1830s; the creation of the Federal Reserve System in the 1910s; the ascent of dollar hegemony in the 1940s; the displacement of the Bretton Woods System in the 1970s; and the challenges faced by the dollar today.

I have a paper 1830s “Bank War.” I also have a rough working paper on the monetary debates between Hamilton and Jefferson in the 1790s.


Journal Articles

  • “Before Hegemony: Adam Smith, American Independence, and the Origins of the First Era of Globalization.” International Organization 66(3): 395-428. More…
  • “Shocking Intellectual Austerity: The Role of Ideas in the Demise of the Gold Standard in Britain.” International Organization (forthcoming). More…

Publications in Edited Volumes

  • “International Regimes and War” in Christopher J. Coyne, ed. The Handbook on the Political Economy of War. (Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming February 2011). (with Avery White). Publisher
  • “Hayek, Oakeshott, and the Concept of Spontaneous Order,” in Peter McNamara and Louis Hunt, eds. Liberalism, Conservatism, and Hayek’s Idea of Spontaneous Order. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2007). (with Richard A. Boyd).  Publisher | Amazon
  • “The Necessary & Proper Clause,” in Joseph R. Marbach, Ellis Katz, and Troy E. Smith, eds. Federalism in America: An Encyclopedia. (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005).
  • “John Cary,” in Donald Rutherford, ed., Biographical Dictionary of British Economists. (Bristol: Thoemmes, 2004).

Book Reviews


  • Review of Steil, B. The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013). The Review of International Organizations (8, 2013). Link
  • Review of Chwieroth, J. Capital Ideas: The IMF and the Rise of Financial Liberalization. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010). Comparative Political Studies (44-1, Dec 2010). Link

Working Papers


  • “This Means (Bank) War! Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, and the Collapse of Compromise over the US Central Bank.” Slides | Paper

Invited Talks


  • Bowdoin College (October 2013). Antebellum American Political Economy. “This Means (Bank) War! How Nicholas Biddle (Unwittingly) Convinced Andrew Jackson to Kill the Second Bank of the United States.”
  • Princeton University (February 2013). Retrospectives on the Great Depression. “Shocking Intellectual Austerity: The Role of Ideas in the Demise of the Gold Standard in Britain.”
  • Duke University (November 2012). Center for the History of Political Economy. “Intellectual Austerity: The Role of Ideas in the Demise of the Gold Standard in Britain”
  • Harvard University (March 2012): “Before Hegemony: Adam Smith, American Independence, and the Origins of the First Era of Globalization.”

Conference Presentations

  • “This Means (Bank) War! Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, and the Collapse of Compromise over the US Central Bank.” Paper presented to the American Political Science Association (APSA) Conference, August 27-31, 2014, Washington, DC.
  • “Shocking Intellectual Austerity: The Role of Ideas in the Demise of the Gold Standard in Britain.” Paper presented to the European Political Science Association (EPSA) Conference, June 18-21, 2014, Edinburgh.
  • “This Means (Bank) War! How Nicholas Biddle (Unwittingly) Convinced Andrew Jackson to Kill the Second Bank of the United States.” Paper presented to the International Studies Association (ISA) Conference, March 26-30, 2014, Toronto.
  • “This Means (Bank) War! How Nicholas Biddle (Unwittingly) Convinced Andrew Jackson to Kill the Second Bank of the United States.” Paper presented to the International Political Economy Society (IPES) Conference, October 25-26, 2013, Claremont Graduate School.
  • “Before Hegemony: Adam Smith, American Independence, and the Origins of the First Era of Globalization.” Paper presented to the History of Economics Society (HES) Conference, June 22-25, 2012, St. Catharines.
  • “Before Hegemony: Adam Smith, American Independence, and the Birth of Free Trade Britain.” Paper presented to the International Studies Association (ISA) Conference, March 19, 2011, Montreal. Paper | Presentation
  • “Before Hegemony: Adam Smith and the Birth of Free Trade Britain.” Paper presented to the International Political Economy Society (IPES) Conference, November 12-13, 2010, Harvard University. Paper | Presentation
  • “Keynessandra No More: JM Keynes, the 1931 Financial Crisis, and the Death of the Gold Standard in Britain.” Paper presented to the American Political Science Association (APSA) Conference, September 2-5, 2010, Washington, DC. Paper (via SSRN)
  • “Before Hegemony: Adam Smith and the Birth of Free Trade Britain.” Paper presented to the New England Political Science Association (NEPSA) Conference, April 22-24, 2010, Newport, RI. Paper
  • “The 1925 Return to Gold: Keynes and Mr. Churchill’s Economic Crisis.” Paper presented to the American Political Science Association (APSA) Conference, September 3-6, 2009, Toronto. Paper (via SSRN)
  • “A Monetary Revolution: John Locke and the Creation of Britain’s Fixed Exchange Rate Regime.” Paper presented to the International Political Economy Society (IPES) Conference, November 14-15, 2008, University of Pennsylvania. Paper | Presentation