Thomas Hale

Thomas Hale

Professor in Public Policy (Global Public Policy)

Thomas Hale’s research explores how we can manage transnational problems effectively and fairly. He seeks to explain how political institutions evolve – or not – to face the challenges raised by globalisation and interdependence, with a particular emphasis on environmental, economic and health issues. He holds a PhD in Politics from Princeton University, a master's degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics, and an AB in public policy from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. A US national, Professor Hale has studied and worked in Argentina, China and Europe. His books include Beyond Gridlock (Polity 2017), Between Interests and Law: The Politics of Transnational Commercial Disputes (Cambridge 2015), Transnational Climate Change Governance (Cambridge 2014), and Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation Is Failing when We Need It Most (Polity 2013). Professor Hale leads the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker and co-leads the Net Zero Tracker.

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I am interested in problems that span national boundaries and the political institutions that seek to solve them. Globalisation and interdependence challenge the ability of states and international organisations to provide the public goods on which global peace, prosperity and welfare depend. Governments are unable to meet the basic needs of citizens without cooperating across boundaries, but cooperation has also become more difficult as problems penetrate deeper into societies. At the same time, a host of new actors ranging from private groups to sub-components of states has come to play a greater role in global governance. My research aims to track and explain these changes, and to imagine how we might effectively and democratically tackle the fundamental political transformations globalisation has unleashed.


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Articles in peer-reviewed journals


Edited books and special issues 

Book chapters

  • with Harriet Bulkeley, Michele Betsill, Daniel Compagnon, Thomas Hale, Matthew Hoffmann, Peter Newell, and Matthew Paterson, “Transnational Governance: Charting New Directions Post-Paris,” in Andrew Jordan et al., Eds, Governing Climate Change: Polycentricity in Action? (Cambridge: 2018).
  • with Charles Roger, “China and Transnational Climate Governance,” in Scott Kennedy, Ed., The Dragon’s Learning Curve (Routledge: 2017).
  • “What is the Effect of Transnational Commercial Arbitration on Trade?,” in Walter Mattli and Thomas Dietz, Eds., International Arbitration and Global Governance: Contending Theories and Evidence (Oxford University Press, 2014).
  • with Anne-Marie Slaughter, “International Relations, Principal Theories,” in Rudiger Wolfrom, Ed., Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (Oxford University Press: forthcoming).
  • with Charles Roger, “China and Transnational Climate Governance,” in Scott Kennedy, Ed., The Dragon’s Learning Curve (Routledge: forthcoming).
  • with Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Transgovernmental Networks,” in Mark Bevir, Ed., The Handbook of Governance (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publishing, 2010).
  • with Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Transgovernmental Networks and Multilevel Governance,” in Enderlein, Henrik, Sonja Wälti, and Michael Zürn (Eds.): Handbook on Multi-Level Governance (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2010).
  • with Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Transgovernmental Networks and Emerging Powers,” in Alan S. Alexandroff and Andrew F. Cooper, Eds., Rising States; Rising Institutions: Can the World Be Governed?(Washington: Brookings Press, 2010).
  • with Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Calling All Patriots: the Cosmopolitan Appeal of Americanism,” in Cultural Transformations, Henrietta L. Moore and David Held, Eds. (Oneworld Press, October 2007).
  • with Anne-Marie Slaughter, “A Covenant to Make Global Governance Work,” in David Held, Ed., Debating Globalization (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005). 

Selected other publications

Book reviews

  • The Ebb and Flow of Global Governance: Intergovernmentalism versus Nongovernmentalism in World Politics. By Alexandru Grigorescu, and The Origins of Informality: Why the Legal Foundations of Global Governance Are Shifting, and Why It Matters. By Charles B. Roger. Perspectives on Politics, Vol 8 No 4, December 2020. The Continent of International Law: Explaining Agreement Design. Barbara Koremenos. Perspectives on Politics, Vol 15, No. 1, March 2017, pp. 295-6.
  • Book Review: Networks in Contention: The Divisive Politics of Climate Change, Jennifer Hadden. International Political Reviews, 3, pp. 84-93, 2015.
  • First of the Year 2009, edited by Benj DeMott, DemocratiyaSpring, 2009
  • The Cultural Contradictions of Democracy: Political Thought since 9/11, by John Brenkman. Democratiya, Spring 2008.
  • with Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Hardt and Negri’s Multitude: the Worst of Both Worlds”, openDemocracy, May 26, 2005



Master of Public Policy

I teach international cooperation within the MPP course, including a special option course on climate change solutions. 

Supervising DPhil in Public Policy students

I seek doctoral students looking to combine world-leading social science with deep impact on public policy. I work with students in the field of political science with a focus on international relations and global politics and/or comparative national politics. I am particularly interested in supervising students working on questions of global economic governance, global environmental governance, or transnational governance in other issue areas. 

I expect doctoral students to employ state-of-the-art social science methodologies and to tackle research questions of significant value and interest to policymakers.  Students should master and deploy whatever combination of research tools, quantitative and qualitative, can best answer the question before them. Students who do not currently possess expertise in the relevant methodologies and skills (e.g. statistical analysis, case study analysis, archival and interview techniques, languages, modeling, programming, etc.) should expect to invest significantly in them during the first years of their doctoral work. I expect all students to read widely across their disciplinary fields and deeply in a number of subfields, as well as in the relevant policy literature. Developing a sophisticated understanding of research design is of paramount importance, as is an appreciation for the dynamics of policy work. 

Per Blavatnik School policy, please do not contact me when you are applying or considering applying. The School asks applicants not to contact faculty directly, but to send in a summary of their research proposal along with a CV that will be forwarded to the appropriate member of the faculty.  This process ensures that all enquiries can be tracked and responded to. I am not able to comment on the particulars of research proposals in advance of application.