Graham Wilson

Co-Director, Initiative on Cities
Chair & Professor, Political Science

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Education:

D. Phil., Oxford University; MA, United States Government and Politics, University of Essex; BA, Oxford University

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Professor Graham Wilson joined the Faculty of Boston University in 2007 where he serves as Chair of the Political Science Department and Co-Director of the Initiative on Cities. His areas of specialization include American Politics, Comparative Politics, Business and Government, and Interest Groups. Professor Wilson has served on the Warwick Commission on Directly Elected Mayors… Read more

Professor Graham Wilson joined the Faculty of Boston University in 2007 where he serves as Chair of the Political Science Department and Co-Director of the Initiative on Cities. His areas of specialization include American Politics, Comparative Politics, Business and Government, and Interest Groups. Professor Wilson has served on the Warwick Commission on Directly Elected Mayors exploring how to restructure the leadership of cities in the United Kingdom in order to achieve policy change and dynamism. In 2014, Professor Wilson joined former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino as Co-Director of the new Initiative on Cities at Boston University.

Prior to coming to Boston University, he taught in the La Follette Public Policy School at the University of Wisconsin as well as in the Political Science Department, where he served as Chair. While at La Follette, Professor Wilson partnered with the Department of Natural Resources with the State of Wisconsin to reinvent their approach to environmental regulation. The resulting legislation, known as Green Tier, drew on experience in Germany and the Netherlands as well the US, and is geared to leveraging higher levels of environmental performance from business while reducing regulatory burdens.

Wilson has published ten books and has authored numerous articles and chapters in edited volumes.  His work has focused primarily on interest groups (particularly business) and their relationship with government and policymaking.  He edited the Oxford Handbook of Business and Government published by OUP in February 2010 and authored several of the chapters in it.  He has also published extensively on the relationship between bureaucrats and politicians.

In 2012, Professor Wilson published his newest book, The Consequences of the Global Financial Crisis: The Rhetoric of Reform and Regulation (with Wyn Grant) with Oxford University Press. That same year, he was also awarded the Ulrich Kloti Award for Lifetime Achievement from the “Structure and Organization of Government Research Committee” of the International Political Science Association.

Professor Wilson received his BA and Doctorate of Philosophy from Oxford University and his MA from the University of Essex.

In the Media

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  • Big picture view on midterm elections

    November 3, 2010

    Political science department chair Graham Wilson offers his view on the midterm elections and what’s next for President Obama. Professor Wilson is the author of “Only in America? American Politics in Comparative Perspective.” “A stunning blow for the Democrats. The question now is whether Obama can play the game of wrong footing for the Republican […]

  • Experts available on mid-term elections

    October 22, 2010

    The following Boston University professors are available to comment on the upcoming mid-term elections: Tom Whalen, Associate professor, Social Science; Expert on Modern American politics and culture; Regular contributor on PoliticoArena Contact 617-353-4785, tjw64@bu.edu     Graham Wilson, Department Chair Political Science; Expert on American politics; Regular contributor on PoliticoArena Contact 617-353-2540, gkwilson@bu.edu     […]

  • Obama will not sign foreclosure bill

    October 7, 2010

    The White House announced that President Obama will use a “pocket veto” on a bill that would make it easier for banks and other lenders to foreclose on homeowners. Political science department chair Graham Wilson offers the following view: “Vetoing a measure speeding up foreclosures must feel like taking a stand for apple pie and motherhood.” […]

  • White House after Rahm

    October 1, 2010

    President Obama announced that Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, is leaving the office to run for mayor of Chicago. Political Science department chair Graham Wilson comments on the move. “This may be unkind, but it is tempting to link Emanuel to two crucial strategic errors – the belief that compromise and cooperation with the Republicans was […]

  • Ban on "soft money" reaffirmed

    June 29, 2010

    The Supreme Court has reaffirmed the ban on political parties being able to raise unlimited amounts of “soft money” contributions, despite the high court’s ruling in January which removed restrictions on corporate and union spending in federal elections.  The Republic Party had appealed to the court to undo the ban.  Political science Professor Graham Wilson, author […]

  • Gun rights apply to local laws

    June 28, 2010

    The Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is a fundamental right that states cannot abridge.  The 5-4 ruling will require a lower court to overturn laws in Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park., Ill., that limited handgun possession.  Political science Professor Graham Wilson, author of “Only in America? American […]

  • General summoned to White House

    June 22, 2010

    The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal (r.), has been summoned to the White House to explain in person some controversial public remarks he made which were critical of the Obama administration.  Political science Professor Graham Wilson, author of “Only in America? American Politics in Comparative Perspective,” says presidential power […]

  • BP CEO hit at Congressional hearing

    June 17, 2010

    Members of Congress came down hard on BP CEO Tony Hayward (r.) as he testified about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  But political science Professor Graham Wilson, author of “Business and Politics,” wondered why the spotlight over American’s worst-ever spill hasn’t shone on Transocean, BP’s partner in the Gulf of Mexico oil rig that exploded in […]

  • BP faces Congress

    June 15, 2010

    It’s all BP all the time in Washington this week.  After President Obama addresses the nation Wednesday on the BP oil spill situation, company executives on Thursday face a Congressional hearing on the matter.  Visiting law Professor Elizabeth Nowicki, both a former SEC and Wall Street attorney, says BP CEO Tony Hayward would be well-served to remember […]

  • Obama under political fire

    June 4, 2010

    From the handling of the Gulf oil spill to internal Democratic primary politics, President Obama is under intense political fire and the White House is getting defensive.  Political science Professor Graham Wilson, author of “Only in America? American Politics in Comparative Perspective,” says some of the criticisms are ironic. “One irony is that when the […]

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