Stephen Skowronek

Stephen Skowronek (born 1951) is an American political scientist, noted for his research on American national institutions and the U.S. presidency, and for helping to stimulate the study of American political development.

Stephen Skowronek
Alma materOberlin College
Cornell University
EmployerYale University

Early life and educationEdit

Skowronek grew up in Bridgewater, New Jersey, where he graduated high school in 1969. He attended Oberlin College, completing a B.A. in 1973, and earned his Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University in 1979. His doctoral dissertation was revised and published as his first book, Building a New American State (1982).[1]


Skowronek taught at Cornell and UCLA before becoming a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 1985. Skowronek joined the political science faculty of Yale University in 1986, and has been Pelatiah Perit Professor of political and social science at Yale since 1999. He has also been a visiting professor at several American and European universities, including as Chair in American Civilization at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris in 1996-1997.[2] He will be the Winant Professor at the University of Oxford in 2018-2019.[3]

Skowronek has collaborated with Karen Orren on several projects, including founding the academic journal Studies in American Political Development in 1986,[4] and writing the book The Search for American Political Development (2004). Through their work, Skowronek and Orren have significantly fostered the growth of American political development (or APD) as a distinct subfield within the discipline of political science.[5]

The first edition of Skowronek's book The Politics Presidents Make (1993) won two awards from the American Political Science Association (APSA): the J. David Greenstone Prize for best book in politics and history[6] and the Richard E. Neustadt Prize for best book on the American presidency.[7] In 2017 this book was the third on the presidency awarded the APSA Legacy Prize for its lasting influence. Skowronek served as President of the Politics and History Section of APSA for 1994-1995.

During 2019, Skowronek resided in Oxford as the Wynant Visiting Professor at the Rothermere American Institute, Balliol College Oxford[8]


  • Building a New American State: The Expansion of National Administrative Capacities, 1877-1920 Cambridge University Press (1982) ISBN 0-521-28865-7
  • The Politics Presidents Make: Leadership from John Adams to Bill Clinton, Belknap Press (1997) ISBN 0-674-68937-2
  • The Search for American Political Development, Cambridge University Press (2004) ISBN 0-521-54764-4 (with Karen Orren)
  • Formative Acts: American Politics in the Making, University of Pennsylvania Press (2007) ISBN 978-0-8122-4012-2 (co-edited by Matthew Glassman)
  • Rethinking Political Institutions: The Art of the State, New York University Press (2007) ISBN 978-0-8147-4056-9 (co-edited with Ian Shapiro and Daniel Galvin)
  • Presidential Leadership in Political Time: Reprise and Reappraisal, University Press of Kansas (2008) ISBN 978-0-7006-1574-2
  • The Policy State: An American Predicament, Harvard University Press, (2017) ISBN 9780674728745 (With Karen Orren)


  1. ^ Stephen Skowronek Staff Profile, Yale University
  2. ^ Stephen Skowronek Staff Profile, Yale University
  3. ^ "Stephen Skowronek announced as Winant Professor for 2018-19". Rothermere American Institute. University of Oxford. March 23, 2018. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  4. ^ Editorial Board of Studies in American Political Development
  5. ^ Zelizer, Julian. 2003. "Stephen Skowronek's Building a New American State and the Origins of American Political Development." Social Science History 27(3): 425-441.
  6. ^ Past Winners - APSA Politics and History Awards
  7. ^ Past Winners - APSA Presidency Research Awards
  8. ^ "Stephen Skowronek". Department of Political Science, Yale University. Retrieved 2 April 2020.