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 Italy, Britain, Sweden, France, Israel, Germany, Japan, and Norway. It hasn’t helped much.
Steinmo teaches courses on political economy, comparative politics, and American government. He is currently a professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado. Previously he held the Chair in Public Policy and Political Economy at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy, and was Robert Schuman Research Professor at the Schuman Center for Advanced Study. He has also been a Senior Visiting Scholar at Nuffield College, Oxford University. He has also been a researcher or visiting professor at many different institutions around the world including: The Copenhagen Business School, The Max Planck Institute, Koln, Germany; the University of Tokyo; Science Po, University of Bordeaux, France; Gothenburg University, Sweden.
Over the past several years Steinmo has received numerous awards for both his teaching and his writing including the European Research Council, “Advanced Researcher Frontier Grant, the Gunnar Myrdal Award for the Best Book in Evolutionary Political Economy, awarded by the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy, 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: Willing to Pay? A Reasonable Choice Approach, with John D. Attoma, Oxford University Press, 2021; The Leap of Faith, (Oxford Univ. Press), The Evolution of Modern States, (Oxford U. Press) Structuring Politics, Cambridge U. Press, (co-edited with Kathleen Thelen), Growing Apart? America, Canada and Europe in the 21st Century” (Cambridge U. Press) (co-edited with Jeffrey Kopstein) and Restructuring the Welfare State (Palgrave) (co-edited with Bo Rothstein) and Taxation and Democracy (Yale U. Press). He has just completed a major project on political culture and institutions titled, Willing to Pay? A Reasonable Choice Approach, (Oxford U. Press - 2021). His next book, "America Divided: Why Americans love their country and hate their government," argues that the US system of "checks and balances" priveledges those with power and divides the majority into factions so that they cannot challenge the powerful. The result is that Americans increasingly distrust their government and each other. Forthcoming, Yale University Press.
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.