Siddhesh Joshi

Hilton Root

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Alma mater  University of Michigan
Role  Author
Name  Hilton Root
Education  University of Michigan
Hilton Root mercatusorgsitesdefaultfilesHiltonRoot1jpg
Born  October 18, 1951 (age 64) (1951-10-18)
Books  Dynamics Among Nations, The fountain of privilege, Alliance curse, Capital and collusion, Peasants and king in Burgundy

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Hilton L. Root (born October 18, 1951) is an academic and policy specialist in international political economy and development. He is a member of the faculty at the George Mason University School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs.


Root has lectured extensively and has authored more than 100 publications including nine books. He is a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal Asia, the International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. His work has been translated into many languages, including French, Greek, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese.

Academic career and principal employment

  • 2006–Current: Professor, School of Policy, Government, and International at George Mason University
  • 2014- Current: Co- director, Computational Public Policy Lab, George Mason University
  • 2013-2014: Visiting Senior Research Professor, King’s College London
  • 2013-2014: Visiting Senior Fellow, Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) London
  • 2007- Current: Senior Scholar, Mercatus Center
  • 2003–2006: Freeman Fellow and Visiting Professor of Economics, Pitzer College and Claremont Graduate University
  • 2001–2002: Senior Advisor to Undersecretary Department of the Treasury
  • 1998–2001: Director and Senior Fellow, Global Studies, Milken Institute
  • 1996–1998: Director, Initiative on Economic Growth and Democracy, Hoover Institution
  • 1995–1998: Associate Professor of Public Policy, Stanford University
  • 1992–1998: Senior Research Fellow, Initiative on Economic Growth and Democracy, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
  • 1988–1991: Janice and Julian Bers Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences, University of Pennsylvania
  • 1985–1988: Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania
  • Advising and consultancy services

    • Technical Committee, European Alliance for Innovation • Member, The Bretton Woods Committee • African Economic Commission of the United Nations • Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) • Asian Development Bank (ADB) • International Monetary Fund (IMF) • Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) • The World Bank (WB) • Rand Corporation • United Nations Development Program (UNDP) • United States Agency for International Development (USAID) • United States Department of State

    Policy work

    As a policy expert, Root advises the Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Economic Commission for African (UNECA), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Rand Corporation, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Treasury Department.

    Root has been active in policy work since 1993, when his academic focus began to shift to the rise of East Asia’s high-performing economies. He authored the governance component of the World Bank’s East Asia Miracle report (1993) and the book Small Countries, Big Lessons: Governance and the Rise of East Asia, (1997). These policy studies of emerging Asia began more than two decades of advisory work as a global policy activist, advocating the role of good governance and development.

    Root was tapped as governance advisor to the president of the Asian Development Bank (1994–1996), where he served as principal author of the ADB’s governance policy and initiator of ongoing governance program activities for most of the Bank’s borrowing members. He also contributed to the establishment in 2001 of the Millennium Challenge Account as advisor on development finance to the undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury.

    As a team leader for the USAID-funded program “Enhancing Government Effectiveness,” or EGE, Root managed projects on human resource management, recruitment, finance and budget, planning, interagency coordination, and evaluation that are under way in five Muslim-majority countries: the West Bank/Gaza, Yemen, Morocco, Indonesia, and Pakistan. In all of these activities, Root’s contributions address analytical tools to examine the broader context of political economy in which sector-level policies are framed.

    In 2010, Root helped reengineer the Planning Commission of the Government of Pakistan, where he led a USAID initiative on intergovernmental finance and devolution. He presided over a committee on governance indicators at the OECD in 1995-1996 and initiated the restructuring of the Sri Lanka civil service as an advisor to President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.

    Current Research

    Root’s most current research examines three related areas: liberal internationalism as a source of global norms; the comparative and historical dynamics of state-building; and the use of complexity models to understand the emergence and evolution of social institutions. Dynamics among Nations: The Evolution of Legitimacy and Development in Modern States (MIT Press, 2013), links all three topics and explores why two of the most powerful change mechanisms in the arsenal of contemporary social theory—the ballot box and market capitalism—have failed to have the expected transformative effect on most developing countries.

    One of the great conundrums of international political economy has been the resilience of global and domestic regimes and institutions that resist optimization models that have historically performed well in the West. These same regimes, operating far from the norms of effectiveness and legitimacy shared by the incumbent industrial powers, will experience much of the world’s future economic and population growth—a shift that brings enormous implications for the evolution of global cooperation and the kinds of government interventions that can be sustained through international assistance. The novel approach of Dynamics among Nations: The Evolution of Legitimacy and Development in Modern States is to rethink current models of institutional change by drawing lessons from the science of complex adaptive systems.


  • 1997, Charles H. Levine Memorial Prize for The Key to the East Asian Miracle: Making Shared Growth Credible, with J. Edgardo Campos, presented by the International Political Science Association for best book of the year.
  • 1995, The Fountain of Privilege: Political Foundations of Markets in Old Regime France and England, presented by the Social Sciences History Association for best book in economic history.
  • 1992, Finalist, Leo Gershoy Award for best book in seventeenth- or eighteenth century European history, for Peasants and King in Burgundy: Agrarian Foundations of French Absolutism.
  • 1986, Chester Penn Higby Prize for the best article among those published during the previous two years, presented by the American Historical Association.
  • Education

    Hilton Root's began his career studying the economic consequences of state building in Old Regime France and England. Root received a B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1974 and a master’s degree in economics and history from the University of Michigan in 1977. In 1980 he was awarded a Diplome d’etudes avancees in politics and law from the Universite de Bourgogne, Dijon, France. Root received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1983. In 1984–1985, he participated in the Mellon Postdoctoral Program in Social Sciences at the California Institute of Technology.


    Hilton Root Wikipedia

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