Daniel Ziblatt



Center for European Studies, Harvard University


Daniel is a prominent scholar of democracy and democratisation and the Eaton Professor of the Science of Government at Harvard University as well as resident faculty at the Minda de Gunzberg Center for Europan Studies (CES). He is affiliated with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and the Institute of Quantitative Social Science. His research focuses on politics, state-building, and historical political economy, with a regional emphasis on Europe. Daniel is co-author of award-winning books such as “Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy” (2017) or “How Democracies Die” (2018, with Steven Levitsky). In 2019, he was awarded the Berlin Prize by the American Academy in Berlin where he was also a fellow. Currently, he is the Director of the Transformations of Democracy Unit at WZB Berlin, Social Science Center.

Daniel will join the THE NEW INSTITUTE in summer of 2023 and will be involved in the programme “The Future of Democracy”.


"The climate crisis is an unprecedented crisis – and what makes it so difficult to deal with is the timeframe of democracy, a slow moving process, incremental improvement. And that’s the virtue of democracy in fact."

  • What gives you hope?
    Our capacity for collective learning.

  • How does change happen?
    History moves in cycles. Breakthroughs are often followed by backsliding. The key challenge is to entrench progress to withstand cycles that might undo it.

  • What inspires you?
    I am inspired by the fact that the more I learn, the more there is to know. I am also inspired everyday by the ingenuity and brilliance of my students.


"How Democracies Die" (with Steven Levitsky), 2018

"Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy", 2017

"Structuring the State. The Formation of Italy and Germany and the Puzzle of Federalism", 2006

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