Born in Minnesota in 1953, Sven Steinmo’s first language was, naturally enough, Norwegian. He has been trying to figure out Americans ever since. He has since lived and worked in a number of countries around the world including: Britain, Sweden, France, Israel, Italy, Germany, Japan, and Norway. It hasn’t helped much.
Steinmo teaches courses on political economy, comparative politics and American government (which he still doesn’t really understand). He holds the Chair in Public Policy and Political Economy at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy, and is a Senior Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford University, as well as an “Honorary Professor” at the University of Southern Denmark. He has also been a researcher or visiting professor at many different institutions around the world including: The Max Planck Institute, Koln, Germany; the University of Tokyo; Science Po, University of Bordeaux, France; Gothenberg University, Sweden; and Copenhagen Business School. He is currently on leave from the University of Colorado.
Over the past several years Steinmo has received numerous awards for both his teaching and his writing including the “Riker Award for the Best Book in Political Economy” from the American Political Science Association and the “Gabriel Almond Award for the Best Dissertation in Comparative Politics” also from the American Political Science Association. He has also been a Fulbright Fellow, a German Marshall Fund Senior Scholar, a STINT Senior Researcher, and an Abe Fellow.
Steinmo’s most recent books include: The Evolution of the Modern State, (which was awarded the “Gunnar Myrdal Prize” for the best book in Evolutionary Political Economy, in 2011), Growing Apart? America, Canada and Europe in the 21st Century (co-edited with Jeffrey Kopstein) and Restructuring the Welfare State (co-edited with Bo Rothstein).
Professor Steinmo’s most recent research project is titled Willing to Pay? Testing Institutional Arguments with Experiments. This is a large multi-year and multi-country project funded by the European Research Council which will attempt to bring together the insights of historical institutional analysis and experimental methods to better understand why citizens in some countries seem so much less ‘willing to pay’ taxes than citizens in other nations.
Steinmo has also worked as a management consultant for a variety of international firms including, AT+T, Disney, General Motors, and Whirlpool. Before entering academia he was a partner or sole proprietor in several small companies. As a very young man he worked as a carpenter as well as a roustabout in the North Sea Oil fields.