Paul Poast's Critical Reads

April 24th, 2018

Paul Poast is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago, where he is also a research affiliate of the Pearson Institute for the Study of Global Conflicts and a member of the Center for International Social Science Research advisory board. He studies international relations, with a focus on international security. He is the author of two books, The Economics of War (McGraw Hill-Irwin, 2006), which was translated into French, Japanese, and Chinese, and Organizing Democracy (University of Chicago Press, 2018), which is published in the Chicago Series on International and Domestic Institutions. He has authored or co-authored academic papers in journals such as International Organization, World Politics, Political analysis, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Conflict Resolution. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and featured in various news outlets, including The New York Times, Bloomberg, Washington Post, and CSPAN. Paul will discuss Organizing Democracy on Tuesday, 5/1, 6.30pm at the Co-op.


The Prize, by Daniel Yergin

The Wages of Destruction, by Adam Tooze

Paris 1919, by Margaret MacMillan

The Struggle for Mastery in Europe, by A.J.P. Taylor

A World on Fire, by Amanda Foreman


About Organizing Democracy: In the past twenty-five years, a number of countries have made the transition to democracy. The support of international organizations is essential to success on this difficult path. Yet, despite extensive research into the relationship between democratic transitions and membership in international organizations, the mechanisms underlying the relationship remain unclear.

With Organizing Democracy, Paul Poast and Johannes Urpelainen argue that leaders of transitional democracies often have to draw on the support of international organizations to provide the public goods and expertise needed to consolidate democratic rule. Looking at the Baltic states' accession to NATO, Poast and Urpelainen provide a compelling and statistically rigorous account of the sorts of support transitional democracies draw from international institutions. They also show that, in many cases, the leaders of new democracies must actually create new international organizations to better serve their needs, since they may not qualify for help from existing ones.