Director of the Scholars Strategy Network and Co-Director of the Boston SSN Regional Network; Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, Harvard University
Expertise & Civic Involvements
Skocpol’s research focuses on health reform, social policy, and civic engagement amidst the shifting inequalities in American democracy. Current projects include tracking the implementation of health reform in the U.S. states; analyzing the dynamics of local Tea Party groups; and probing how the Democratic Party has handled – and mishandled – political battles over taxes and public revenues. Skocpol speaks regularly to community groups and writes for blogs and public-interest magazines. She has met with groups of Congressional Democrats and attended White House sessions that included the president during the Clinton years.
Co-Authored with Vanessa Williamson, SSN Key Findings, February 2013
Co-Authored with David Brian Robertson, SSN Basic Facts, September 2012
SSN Basic Facts, July 2012
Co-Authored with Luke Shaefer, SSN Basic Facts, July 2012
SSN Basic Facts, May 2012
Co-Authored with Lawrence R. Jacobs, SSN Basic Facts, May 2012
Co-Authored with Benjamin Veghte, SSN Basic Facts, April 2012
Co-Authored with Lawrence R. Jacobs, SSN Basic Facts, October 2011
Co-Authored with Vanessa Williamson, SSN Key Findings, October 2011
The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism (with ) (Oxford University Press, 2012). Shows how grassroots activism, the right-wing media, and elite funders and policy advocates interact to allow the Tea Party to boost the GOP and prod it to the hard right. Includes interviews with grass roots activists and an analysis of the role of the Tea Party in the 2010 and 2012 elections.
Reaching for a New Deal: Ambitious Governance, Economic Meltdown, and Polarized Politics in Obama’s First Two Years (with ) (Russell Sage Foundation, 2011). Offers an overview of the policy successes and failures of the early Obama presidency – and explains why, despite many reform accomplishments, Obama and the Democrats have faced uphill political battles, right-wing obstruction, and popular disillusionment.
Health Care Reform and American Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know (with ) (Oxford University Press, 2010). Traces how the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 and explains why this health reform will benefit the vast majority of Americans. Looks at ongoing political controversies over repeal and implementation.
Civic Engagement in American Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life (University of Oklahoma Press, 2003). Looks at civic voluntarism from the American Revolution through the late twentieth century, showing that Americans once organized membership associations that involved dues-paying members across class lines and linked local groups to state and national politics. After the 1960s, membership associations declined while professionally led organizations proliferated, leaving many ordinary citizens on the outside looking in.
The Missing Middle: Working Families and the Future of American Social Policy (Norton, 2000). Successful social programs in U.S. democracy bridge the needs and values of the middle class and the less privileged. Citizens get support in return for making contributions to the nation. Explains why this formula for popular and effective social programs has fallen apart in recent decades, and considers how it might be revived.
- "Five Minutes with Theda Skocpol," Interview with EUROPP’s Editors, London School of Economics, May 13, 2013.
- "On Social Security, Tap the Wealthy to Support a Program for All," Room for Debate, New York Times, April 17, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on climate-change legislation and organizing discussed in , "When the Earth Moved," The New Yorker, April 15, 2013.
- Guest to discuss the failure of cap-and-trade legislation and the movement toward a green economy on HPR's "Town Square" (with ), March 14, 2013.
- "Learning from the Cap-and-Trade Debate," Grist, March 6, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the regressive nature of social welfare taxes cited in "The War on Entitlements," New York Times, March 6, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the failure to pass climate change legislation discussed in , "Controversial Study Probes Reasons for Climate Bill Failure," Environmental Building News, February 7, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the way forward for climate legislation discussed in , "Harvard Professor Has It Right: U.S. Climate Push Requires Intense Grassroots Support around 'Cap-and-Dividend' Bill," Grist, February 1, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the failure of environmental leaders to pass climate change legislation discussed in , "U.S. Environmentalists Challenged to Get Climate Change Laws through Congress," The Guardian, January 17, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the failure to pass climate change legislation discussed in , "Why Has Climate Legislation Failed? An Interview with Theda Skocpol," The Washington Post, January 16, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the past and future of cap-and-trade legislation discussed in , "Beyond Baby Steps: Analyzing the Cap-and-Trade Flop," Grist, January 14, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the failure to pass cap-and-trade legislation discussed in , "Why the Environmental Movement Couldn't Get Cap-and-Trade Passed," Grist, January 14, 2013.
- Theda Skocpol's (with ) research on their book, "The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism" cited in "The Ten Best Political Books of 2012," The New Yorker, December 14, 2012.
- "Bringing Academics into the Grassroots Game," The American Prospect, December 14, 2012.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the future of the Republican Party discussed in , "The Republican Party: Desperately Seeking Voters," DW, November 20, 2012.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the role of the super-rich in the 2012 presidential election and beyond discussed in , "Obama, the Super Rich, and the Election," Reuters, November 8, 2012.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the Obama administration and and economic policy discussed in , "Who Gets Credit for the Economy's Recovery?," New York Times, October 26, 2012.
- Theda Skocpol's research on the Obama presidency, presented in her book "Obama and America's Political Future" discussed in , "Obama Makes His Case amidst Reagan's Shadow," Reuters, September 6, 2012.
- "Majority of New Mexico Better Off under ObamaCare" (with ), The Albuquerque Journal, September 24, 2012.
- "Paul Ryan's Budget Plan Could Hurt Many Missourians" (with ), St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 18, 2012.
- "A Fairer Tax Future," A Symposium: Democratic Advise for Obama's Second Term, The Wall Street Journal, September 4, 2012.
- "Why the Tea Party Still Matters: Theda Skocpol’s ‘Obama and America’s Political Future’," Interview with Jesse Singal, The Daily Beast, August 29, 2012.
- "With the Ryan Budget, the Wealthy Win while Most Michiganders Lose" (with ), The Detroit Free Press, August 19, 2012.
- "What Does the Tea Party Stand For?," Interview with Kara Miller, WGBH, August 1, 2012.
- "Affordable Care Lives: A Benefit and Challenge for Maine," Opinion, Bangor Daily News, June 29, 2012.
- "Bending Toward Universal Health Care" (with ), Campaign Stops, New York Times, June 28, 2012.
- "Getting Past Healthcare's Individual Mandate" (with ), Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2012.
- Interview on the 2012 presidential election, Juncture, May 22, 2012.
- "Mitt Romney, the Stealth Tea Party Candidate," The Washington Post, February 3, 2012.
- Interview on The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, The Rachel Maddow Show, December 9, 2011.
- "Can Republicans Rescind Obamacare?" (with ), Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2010.
- Regular contributions to the Arena on Politico.com.