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Torsten Persson


  • Program Director
  • Institutions, Organizations & Growth


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Torsten Persson is an economist whose research focuses on the politics of economic policy-making.

He is an expert on how income distribution influences economic growth and how policy is created in federations. Persson’s most recent work investigates alternative political systems and determines how these systems influence electoral rules and forms of government. His expertise has been sought for advisory to several governments and international organizations, including the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of Sweden.


  • Foreign Honorary Member of the American Economic Association, 2016
  • Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, 2012
  • Honorary doctorates at Aalto University and Mannheim University, 2011
  • President of the Econometric Society, 2008
  • President of the European Economic Association, 2003
  • Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2001
  • European Economic Association Yrjö Jahnsson Medal, 1997
  • Söderberg Prize, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 1995

Relevant Publications

  • Besley, T., and T. Persson. "The logic of political violence." Quarterly Journal of Economics 126 (2011): 1411–1445.
  • Besley, T., and T. Persson. Pillars of Prosperity: The Political Economics of Development Clusters. Yrjö Jahnsson Lectures. Princeton University Press, 2011.
  • Besley, T., and T. Persson. "State capacity, conflict and development." Econometrica 78 (2010): 1–34.
  • Besley, T., and T. Persson. "The origins of state capacity: Property rights, taxation and politics." American Economic Review 99 (2009): 1218–1244.
  • Persson, T., and G. Tabellini. "Constitutional rules and fiscal policy outcomes." American Economic Review 94 (2004): 25–46.
  • Persson, T., and G. Tabellini. The Economic Effects of Constitutions. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003.
  • Persson, T., G. Roland, and G. Tabellini. "Comparative politics and public finance." Journal of Political Economy 108 (2000): 1121–1161.
  • Persson, T., and G. Tabellini. Macroeconomic Policy, Credibility and Politics. New York, NY: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1990.

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