J. Nicholas Ziegler

Professor of International and Public Affairs (Research)
111 Thayer Street, Room 317
Areas of Expertise Democracy & Elections, Global Finance & Banking, Political Economy, Science & Technology Policy, Technology & Innovation, Welfare Policy
Areas of Interest Comparative politics, political economy of Europe, comparative financial regulation, ideology and party politics in France and Germany


Nick Ziegler specializes in the politics of the advanced industrial democracies, with an emphasis on the political economy of Western Europe.  He is currently interested in the politics of institutional change in Germany, as well as financial regulation in comparative perspective. He received a B.A. in European History from Princeton and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University.  He taught at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and in the Political Science Department at Berkeley before joining the faculty at Brown University.  Ziegler has published articles in World Politics, Daedalus, Politics and Society, and other journals. He has been a research fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center, the German Marshall Fund, and the Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforchung in Cologne, and Nuffield College, Oxford.


Ziegler’s research focuses on two main projects.  His current book project examines the politics of institutional change in Germany and Europe.  This project highlights the problem of maintaining institutions that provide long-term social infrastructure over multiple generations, while also adapting them to changing circumstances. Key examples include the politics of pension reform, corporate governance, and citizenship rules.  Increasingly, the regulation of financial markets also looks like an institutional task with intertemporal preconditions and consequences.

Ziegler’s second project examines the regulation of financial markets in more depth.  Based on research in the United States as well as Europe, findings to date show that new interest formations are taking shape around differing conceptions of financial stability and risk. The projects include papers on the enactment of the Dodd-Frank reforms in the United States, post-enactment politics of consolidating financial reform in the United States, the changing dimensions of competition in the derivatives business; and the comparative politics of structural reform or bank separation in the United States, the UK, France, Germany, and Switzerland. 


J. N. Ziegler, K. Posch, and T. Nath, “The Limits of Interest: Moral Economy and the Regulation of Derivatives in the United States,” Regulation & Governanceonline (February 2024).

J. Nicholas Ziegler and John T. Woolley, “After Dodd-Frank:  Ideas and the Post-Enactment Politics of Financial Reform in the United States,” Politics and Society.

Peter J. Ryan and J. Nicholas Ziegler, “Patchwork Pacesetter: The United States in the Multi-Level Process of Financial Market Regulation,” in R. Mayntz, ed., Negotiated Reform:  The Multilevel Governance of Financial Regulation (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2015).  

John T. Woolley and J. Nicholas Ziegler, “The Two-Tiered Politics of Financial Regulation in the United States,” R. Mayntz, ed., Crisis and Control: Institutional Change in Financial Market Regulation (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2012).

“The Politics of Comparative Corporate Governance,” European Studies Forum, Vol. 37, no. 1 (2007).

“Corporate Governance and the Politics of Property Rights in Germany,” Politics and Society, 28:2 (June 2000): 195-221.          

Governing Ideas:  Strategies for Innovation in France and Germany (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, July 1997).    


MPA 2055 The Politics of Policymaking in Comparative Perspective

Comparative Politics of Financial Regulation (seminar, undergraduate)

Introduction to Comparative Political Economy (seminar, graduate)

Politics of European Integration (lecture, undergraduate)

Democratic and Non-Democratic Ideologies (seminar, undergraduate)

Interests and Institutions in Comparative Perspective (seminar, graduate)

Recent News

News from Watson

Alumni Spotlight: Erik Brown ’23

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace selected Fulbright Scholar Erik Brown, an International and Public Affairs alumnus, for the prestigious Gaither Junior Fellowship program.
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News from Watson

Alumni Spotlight: Eesha Bhave ’20 MPA

While funding gender and reproductive equity issues in the non-profit arena, 2020 Master of Public Affairs graduate Eesha Bhave's long-term career goal is to ensure that gender and race equity analyses are included in broader policy arenas as well.
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Science, Politics, and the Pandemic

In November 2020, J. Nicholas Ziegler wrote "Science, Politics, and the Pandemic," a piece that compares the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom's approach to containing COVID-19, specifically focusing on the striking variations in their use of scientific expertise to understand the new pathogen.
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