Berkeley Political Scientist Paul Pierson Named to Prestigious U.S. Academy

March 9, 2022
By: Edward Lempinen
informal portrait of political scientist Paul Pierson, with graphic tessellation at left and right margins
In books, articles and public commentary, UC Berkeley political scientist Paul Pierson has brought a probing scholarship to issues of broad interest in the political class and among the American public. (Photo by Tracey Goldberg)

Paul Pierson, an influential UC Berkeley scholar and author focused on the challenges confronting American democracy, has been named a fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS).

Pierson will be one of seven “extraordinarily accomplished” scholars inducted at a ceremony later this year, the AAPSS announced today. He has been a prolific scholar and analyst, with recent work exploring how the nation’s dysfunctional politics threaten the well-being of its people and the health of democracy itself.

“Each year, the Academy welcomes a new class of fellows whose influential research showcases the importance of the social sciences in addressing issues ranging from racial and economic inequality to extremism in political parties,” said Marta Tienda, president of the AAPSS. “The 2022 class of AAPSS Fellows includes social and political scientists whose distinguished scholarship has and continues to elevate prominent policy discussions.”

Pierson is the John Gross Professor of Political Science at Berkeley. He will join the academy’s ranks as the 2022 Robert A. Dahl Fellow, named for one of the most influential American thinkers on democracy in the post-World War II period.

Pierson is the author or co-author of a range of books and articles that bring a probing academic rigor to topics of interest far beyond academia.

Among his most recent books are Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality (2020), American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper (2016), and Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class (2010).

All were co-authored with Jacob S. Hacker, a political scientist at Yale University.

Pierson is frequently called to analyze public affairs in the news media, and his writings have appeared in such publications as The New York Times MagazineThe Washington Post and Foreign Affairs.