About Hilton Root

Hilton L. Root, a professor of public policy at George Mason University, has a reputation for research that pioneers emerging trends in a range of disciplines, by combining science and the humanities to pose new questions about how social institutions and the global political economy evolve. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his work, including a Senior Distinguished Fulbright Fellowship in Social Science; a Freeman Foundation Senior Fellowship, Claremont Graduate University; a Janice and Julian Bers Assistant Professorship of Social Science and an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, PARSS (Program for Reassessing and Revitalizing the Social Science) Fellowship, the University of Pennsylvania; a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology; the Charles H. Levin Award, the International Political Science Association, and the Chester Penn Higby Prize, American Historical Association.

He has held faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford, and visiting faculty positions at Caltech, Claremont Graduate University, King’s College London and the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

As a global thought leader who integrates academic research in political economy with global development, he advises international organizations, governments, and world leaders on topics of governance, North/South gaps, poverty reduction, regional development, institution building and financial policy. Of note are Professor Root’s agenda-transforming contribution to the governance policies of the International Financial Institutions (1994–96) and foundational analytical work for the U.S. Department of the Treasury that shaped the Millennial Challenge Corporation (2001). These institutional innovations remain fully operational. His students are recruited by multilateral development agencies, including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the IMF and UNDP.

He is the author of more than 220 publications; 10 books with major university presses; and articles that reach specific scholarly audiences in economics, political science, history, business, and international relations. Many of these studies presaged new research methods and models, such as the debut of rational choice models in historical analysis, the introduction of good governance in the discourse of global development and the integration of complex systems analytics and network science to understand long-term cultural change.

His scholarship has been widely translated. Articles synthesizing his policy research appear regularly in media outlets like The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The National Interest, US News & World Report, Real Clear World, CapX, The International Economy Magazine, the Los Angeles Times and The Diplomat, among many global media outlets.

Prof. Root is currently writing a book on cultural evolution, social governance and state formation in China and the West, summing up 40 years of prize-winning research that has appeared primarily in scholarly venues.

Network Origins of the Global Economy

Considering economies as complex networks, we can better understand five great historical transitions—dynastic lordship’s rise in China and Europe, the law’s formation, industrialization and the Great Divergence, China’s ascendancy, and globalization’s hyper-connectivity. Each arose from patterns in a networked system, whose structure set trajectories of regime variation, transition and decay.

Dynamics Among Nations

Dynamics Among Nations employs insights from the study of complex systems to examine the interdependent, networked environment of today’s global power transitions – as well as the rise and fall of empires in Europe and Asia.