Bo Rothstein

Professor of Government and Public Policy

Bo Rothstein is Professor of Government and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and Professorial Fellow of Nuffield College. Before coming to Oxford he held the August Röhss Chair in Political Science at University of Gothenburg in Sweden where he was co-founder and head of the Quality of Government (QoG) Institute. He took his PhD in Political Science at Lund University and before coming to Gothenburg he was assistant and associate professor at Uppsala University. Bo has been a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York, Collegium Budapest for Advanced Study, Harvard University, University of Washington-Seattle, Cornell University, Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, the Australian National University and Stanford University. His most recent book, Making Sense of Corruption (together with Aiysha Varraich) was published by Cambridge University Press in March 2017. His other books in English are The Quality of Government: Corruption, Inequality and Social Trust in International Perspective (University of Chicago Press 2011) the co-edited volume Good Government: The Relevance of Political Science (Edward Elgar 2012), Just Institutions Matter: The Moral and Political Logic of the Universal Welfare State (Cambridge University Press 1998) and Social Traps and the Problem of Trust (Cambridge University Press 2005). He has published in journals such as World Politics, World Development, Comparative Politics, Governance, Comparative Political Studies and Politics & Society. Since 2012 he is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In 2003, he was awarded a Leading Scholars grant by the Swedish Science Council and in 2013 he received an Advanced Research Grant from the European Research Council. Bo has published about 400 op-ed articles in all leading Swedish newspapers and since coming to Oxford a handful op-ed articles in English.

Policy reports

Rothstein, Bo, and Marcus Tannenberg. "Making Development Work: The Quality of Government Approach.” Report produced for the Swedish Government’s Expert Group for Aid Studies (2015).

Rothstein, Bo. “The Quality of Government Institute 2004-2014. A summary of research findings.” 

Books in English

The Social Democratic State. The Swedish Model and the Bureaucratic Problems of Social Reforms. University of Pittsburgh Press (1996).

Just Institutions Matter. The Moral and Political Logic of the Universal Welfare State. Cambridge University Press. (1998).

Restructuring the Welfare State. Political Institutions and Policy Change. Edited volume (together with Sven Steinmo). Palgrave St. Martin’s Press (2002).

Creating Social Trust in Post-Socialist Transitions. Edited volume (together with Janos Kornai and Susan Rose-Ackeman). Palgrave/Macmillan (2004) Translated to and published in Hungarian (2006).

Social Traps and the Problem of Trust. Cambridge University Press (2005).

The Quality of Government. Corruption, Social Trust and Inequality in International Perspective. University of Chicago Press (2011). This book has been translated and published in P.R. China by Xinhua Publishing House

Good Government: The Relevance of Political Science. Edited volume (together with Sören Holmberg). Edward Elgar (2012).

Quality of Government and Corruption from a European Perspective: A Comparative Study of Good Government in European Regions (together with Nicholas Charron and Victor Lapuente). Edward Elgar (2013)

Making Sense of Corruption (together with Aiysha Varraich). Cambridge University Press (2017)

Articles in English, German and French in peer reviewed journals, book chapters and entries in encyclopedias (since 2000)

"The Universal Welfare State as a Social Dilemma", in Rationality and Society 13 (2) (2001). Reprinted in Raymond Boudon (ed). The European Tradition of Qualitative Research. London. Sage (2003). A version of this article is also published in Mark Van Vugt, Mark Snyder, Anders Biel & Tom Tyler (eds). Collective Problems in Modern Societies. Dilemmas and Solutions. Routledge (2000).

“Understanding the Universal Welfare State – An Institutionalist Approach”, in Edward Broadbent (ed). Democratic Equality. What Went Wrong? University of Toronto Press (2001)

“Sozialkapital im sozialdemokratischen Staat – das swedishe Modell und die Bürgergesellshaft”, in Robert D. Putnam (ed). Gessellschaft und Gemeinsinn. Sozialkapital im internationalen Vergleich. Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung. Gutersloh (2001)

"The Future of the Universal Welfare State", in Stein Kuhnle (ed). Survival of the European Welfare State. Routledge (2000)

“Trust, Social Dilemmas and Collective Memory”, Journal of Theoretical Politics (2000)

“Social Capital in the Social Democratic Welfare State”, in Politics and Society 29(2) (2001)

”Sweden. Social Capital in the Social Democratic State. The Swedish Model and Civil Society”, in Robert D. Putnam (ed). Democracies in Flux. Political Culture as a Condition for Democrac. Oxford University press (2002)

“Cooperation for Social Protection. Explaining Variation in Welfare State Programs”, in American Behavioral Scientist 45 (2002)

“Social Capital in Scandinavia” (together with Dietlind Stolle). Scandinavian Political Studies.22 (2003).

“Social Capital, Impartiality and the Welfare State. An Institutionalist Approach”, (together with Dietlind Stolle), in Marc Hooghe & Dietlind Stolle (eds). Generating Social Capital. Civil Society and Institutions in a Comparative Perspective. New York. Palgrave/Macmillan 2004

“Social Capital, Economic Growth and Quality of Government”. New Political Economy 8 (2003)

“Political Legitimacy and Public Administration”, in Guy B. Peters & Jon Pierre (eds.). Handbook of Public Adminstration. London. SAGE (2003)

“Social Trust and Honesty in Government. A Causal Mechanism Approach”, in János Kornai, Bo Rothstein and Susan Rose-Ackeman (eds). Creating Social Trust in Post-Socialist Transition. New York. Palgrave/Macmillan (2004). Also published in Hungarian.

"Social Capital in a Working Democracy" in Fredrik Engelstad & Oivind Osterrud (eds). Power and Democracy. Critical Interventions. London. Ashgate 2004.

“Introduction”, in János Kornai, Bo Rothstein and Susan Rose-Ackeman (eds). Creating Social Trust in Post-Socialist Transition. New York. Palgrave/Macmillan (2004). Also published in Hungarian.

“Social Capital and Institutional Legitimacy. The Corleone Connection”, in Sanjeev Prakash and Per Selle (eds). Investingating Social Capital. Comparative Perspectives on Civil Society, Participation and Governance. New Dehli and London. SAGE Publications 2004.

“Making and Breaking Social Capital. The Impact of Welfare State Institutions”, (together with Staffan Kumlin), Comparative Political Studies (2005).

“Is Political Science Producing Technically Competent Barbarians”, in European Politica Science (2005).

“All for All. Equality and Social Trust”, (together with Eric M. Uslaner) World Politics (2006).

“Les appareils idéologiques d’Ètat. Transformation de la Democraties Suédoise”, in La Vie des Idées (2006).

“Sweden. The Fall of the Strong State”, (together with Johannes Lindvall), in Scandinavian Political Studies (2006).

“Government partisanship and managing the economy. Japan and Sweden in comparative perspective”, (together with Junko Kato), in Governance (2006). 

“How to get causality in the social sciences. Multiple regressions versus case-studies”, in Comparative Social Research (2007).

”Trust and Social Capital”, in Robert Goodin and Philippe Petitt (eds.). A Companion to Modern Political Philosophy. Oxford. Blackwell (2008).

“La Résiliance du Modèle Suédois de Welfare dans l’Èconomie Mondialisèe”, (together with Anders Lindbom) in Revue International De Politique Comparée (2007)

”Institutionelle Grundlagen des Sozialkapitals” (together with Dietlind Stolle) in Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, Sonderheft 47, (2007).

“The State and Civil Society in an Historical Perspective. The Swedish Case (together with Lars Trägårdh), in Lars Trägårdh (ed.). State and Society in North Europe. New York. Bergbahn Books (2007)

“Politcal Institutions and Generalized Trust” (together with Dietlind Stolle), in The Oxford Handbook of Social Capital. Oxford. Oxford University Press (2008)

“The State and Social Capital. An Institutional Theory of Generalized Trust” (together with Dietlind Stolle), in Comparative Politics (2008).

“What is Quality of Government. A Theory of Impartial Government Institutions” (together with Jan Teorell), in Governance 21 (2008).

"The Welfare State and Social Capital”, in Handbook of the Economics Social Capital. London. Edward Elgar (2009).

“Preventing Markets from Self-Destruction. The Quality of Government Factor”, in Mette Anthonsen & Sverker G. Jagers (eds.). Rätt grönt. Vänbok till Lennart J Lundqvist. Gothenburg. University of Gothenburg (2009)

“Creating Political Legitimacy. Electoral Democracy versus Quality of Government”, American Behavioral Scientist (2009). Translated and published in the Chinese Journal Comparative Economic and Social Systems (2011).

“Political Corruption and Social Trust. An Experimental Approach” (together with Daniel Eek), in Rationality and Society (2009). Also published in Micheal Johnston (ed). Public Sector Corruption. London. SAGE (2010).

“Social Democracy” in George T. Kurian et al (eds.).The Encyclopedia of Political Science, Washington DC. CQ Press (2010).

“Universalism”, in George T. Kurian et al (eds.).The Encyclopedia of Political Science, Washington DC. CQ Press (2010).

”Quality of Government. What You Get”,(together with Sören Holmberg and Naghmeh Nasiritousi) in Annual Review of Political Science 13 (2009).

“Questioning the New Liberal Dilemma. Immigrants, Social Capital and Institutional Fairness.” (together with Staffan Kumlin), in Comparative Politics (2011).

“Reinventing Weber. The Role of Institutions in Creating Social Trust”, in Per Lagreid and Tom Christensen (eds.). The Ashgate Research Companion to New Public Management (together with Jon Pierre). Burlington. Ashgate (2011).

“Anti-Corruption. The Indirect “Big Bang” Approach”, in Review of International Political Economy (2011).

“The Reproduction of Gender Inequality in the Swedish Welfare State. A Causal Mechanism Approach”, in Gender, Work and Organization (2012).

“Can markets be expected to prevent themselves from self-destruction?”, in Regulation and Governance (2011).

“Dying of Corruption”, in Health Economics, Policy and Law (together with Sören Holmberg, 2011).

“Explaining the Welfare State. Power Resources versus the Quality of Government” (together with Marcus Samanni and Jan Teorell), in European Political Science Review (2011).

“Good Governance”, in David Levi-Faur (ed.). Oxford Handbook of Governance. Oxford. Oxford University Press (2012).

“Social Capital and Democratization”, in Jeffrey Haynes (ed.). Routledge Handbook of Democratization. London. Routledge (together with Rasmus Broms) (2012)

“Institutional change”, in Bertrand Badie, Dirk Berg-Schlosser and Leonardo Morlino (eds.). International Encyclopedia of Political Science. London. Sage publications (2011).

“Social Democracy” in in Bertrand Badie, Dirk Berg-Schlosser and Leonardo Morlino (eds.). International Encyclopedia of Political Science. London. Sage publications (2011).

“Universalism” in George T Kurian, James E Alt, Simone Chambers, Geoffrey Garrett, Margaret Levi & Paula D Mcclain (eds.). The Encyclopedia of Political Science. CQ Press. New York (2011).

“Why Anticorruption Reforms Fail—Systemic Corruption as a Collective Action Problem”, (together with Anna Persson & Jan Teorell), in Governance (2012).

“Corruption, Bureaucratic Failure and Social Policy Priorities” , together with Carl Dahlström & Johannes Lindvall), in Political Studies (2013)

“Quality of Government and Epistemic Democracy” in Revista Latinoamericana de Politica Comparada (2012)’

“Governing Religion. Long-term Effects of Sacred Financing”, together with Rasmus Broms, in Journal of Theoretical Politics (2013)

“Civil War Spain versus Swedish Harmony: The Quality of Government Factor”, together with Victor Lapuente, Comparative Political Studies (forthcoming)

“Corruption and Social Trust”, in Social Research (2013)

“The Moral, Political and Economic Logic of the Swedish Welfare State”, in Jon Pierre (ed.). Oxford Handbook of Swedish Politics. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)

“What is the Opposite of Corruption”, in Third World Quarterly (2014)

“It's My Money: Why Big Government May Be Good Government”, together with Anna Persson, in Comparative Politics (2015)

“The Chinese Paradox of High Growth and Low Quality of Government. The Cadre Administration meets Max Weber”, in Governance (2015)

“Causes of Corruption” (together with Jan Teorell) in Paul Heywood (ed.). Oxford Handbook of Political Corruption. Oxford University Press (2015)

“Getting to Sweden, Part I: War and Malfeasance 1720-1850” (together with Jan Teorell), Scandinavian Political Studies (2015).

“Getting to Sweden, Part II: Breaking with Corruption in the 19th Century” (together with Jan Teorell) in Scandinavian Political Studies (2015)

"Good Societies Need Good Leaders on a Leash", in Carl Dahlstrom and Lena Wängnerud (eds.): Elites, Institutions and the Quality of Government,. New York: Palgrave (2015)

“Human Well-Being and the Unsung Relevance of Political Science”, in Gerry Stoker, B. Guy Peters & Jon Pierre (eds.): The Relevance of Political Science. Palgrave/Macmillan (2015)

"The Moral, Economic, and Political Logic of the Swedish Welfare State", in Jon Pierre (ed.): The Oxford Handbook of Swedish Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press (2015)

“The Historical Roots of Corruption. State Building, Economic Inequality and Mass Education”, in Comparative Politics (2016)

“Solidarity, Diversity and the Quality of Government”, in Keith Banting and Will Kymlicka (eds.). The Strains of Commitment. Sources of Solidarity in Diverse Societies. Oxford University Press (2017).

“The Relevance of Comparative Politics”, in Daniele Caramani (ed.). Comparative Politics 4th ed. Oxford University Press (2017)

“Trusting Other People” (together with Sören Holmberg), Journal of Public Affairs (2017)

“Does Education Lead to Higher Generalized Trust?  The Importance of Quality of Government” (together with Nicholas Charron). International Journal of Educational Development (2017)

Paul Collier's essay on corruption
Times Literary Supplement - Tuesday, 11 July, 2017
Professor Bo Rothstein writes about immigration from an economics point of view
Social Europe - Tuesday, 20 June, 2017
Professor Bo Rothstein writes about the newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron
Social Europe - Monday, 22 May, 2017
Bo Rothstein writes about the lack of understanding of the issue of corruption, as analysed in his new book
CapX - Thursday, 9 March, 2017
Professor Bo Rothstein writes about the crisis of the left in Europe
Social Europe - Friday, 10 February, 2017
Professor Rothstein writes an opinion piece
Social Europe - Thursday, 19 January, 2017
It’s the best way to ensure that elites start behaving better and to restore public trust, writes Bo Rothstein
Prospect - Friday, 18 November, 2016
Professor Bo Rothstein writes an op-ed about Brexit and the referendum
New Statesman - Wednesday, 7 September, 2016
Opinion piece by Professor Bo Rothstein after the "Panama papers" leak
CapX - Monday, 11 April, 2016