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Alexander Thompson

Alexander Thompson

Alexander Thompson

Professor of Political Science



2038 Derby Hall
154 N. Oval Mall
Columbus, OH 43210

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  • Ph.D., University of Chicago, Political Science (2001)
  • M.A., University of Chicago, Political Science (1997)
  • B.A., Connecticut College, International Relations (1994)


Alexander Thompson is professor of political science. His research and teaching interests are in the area of international relations, with an emphasis on the politics of international organizations and law. 

Thompson's book, Channels of Power: The UN Security Council and U.S. Statecraft in Iraq (Cornell University Press, 2009), explores why the United States sometimes channels its foreign policies through international organizations and other times acts alone.  Channels of Power has won two awards, the International Studies Association’s Chadwick Alger Prize and the J. David Singer Book Award from ISA-Midwest.

Most of Thompson's research addresses the question of why states create and how they design institutions at the international level.  Recent and ongoing projects focus on the evolution of the global climate regime, the negotiation and ratification of international investment agreements, legalization in the world trade, the politics of multilateral weapons inspections, the determinants of international organization performance, and the enforcement of international law. He also writes and speaks on the question of unilateralism versus multilateralism in U.S. foreign policy. 

His articles have appeared in various journals, including International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Legal Studies, European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Organizations, Climatic Change, International Theory, and Policy Studies Journal. His has been associate editor of Security Studies since 2015.

Thompson enjoys teaching and has been honored with the Political Science Department’s Outstanding Teaching Award (2011) and as a finalist for the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award (2005).  Among his administrative duties, he served as his department's director of graduate studies and co-directs the Globalization Workshop with Sarah Brooks at the Mershon Center. 

Faculty Links

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)
Department web page

Media Links

Political Science: Interview: Alex Thompson Discusses Paris Climate Agreement (2016)
Webinar: The Future of International Climate Change Agreements (2012)
Political Science: Thompson wins J. David Singer Book Award (2012)

Mershon Projects

Globalization, Institutions and Economic Security speaker series, with Sarah Brooks (2006-16)
The Politics of Climate Finance: Bridging the North-South Divide (2014-15)
The Evolution of Global Climate Change Institutions (2010-12) 
Designing Effective Climate Change Mechanisms for Developing Countries (2008-09)
The Performance of International Organizations (2008-09)
IO Legitimation and the Use of Force (pdf) (2005-06)
Channeling Statecraft: Economic Coercion through International Organizations (2002-03)
Human Elements of Global Warming in the International Context (2002-03)