Didi Kuo


The Great Retreat: How Political Parties Should Behave—And Why they Don't, under contract, Oxford University Press

Clientelism, Capitalism, and Democracy: The Rise of Programmatic Politics in the United States and Britain. Cambridge University Press (2018)

Clientelism, Capitalism, and Democracy book cover

Clientelism, Capitalism, and Democracy explains the conditions under which political parties transition from clientelistic to programmatic competition. It argues that changes in capitalist organization, including the adoption of managerial capitalism and the creation of politically-oriented business organizations, led businesses to develop preferences against clientelism and patronage. Further, it argues that the linkages between businesses and parties ushered in new forms of interest mediation, democratic accountability, and programmatic organization.

Selected Writing

Political Parties and Intermediary Capacity, working paper

State Capacity and Public Health: California and COVID-19 (with Andrew Kelly), working paper

Political Parties and Democratic Norms (with Julia Azari), under preparation for Placing Political Parties in American Political Development, ed. Jessica Hejny and Adam Hilton

Associational Party Building: A Path To Rebuilding Democracy (with Tabatha Abu El-Haj). 2022. Columbia Law Review Forum, vol. 122, 127-76

California and Public Health Authority, in Who Governs? Emergency Powers in the Time of Covid, 2022. Morris Fiorina and John Ferejohn (eds), Hoover University Press.

Democratization and the Franchise, 2020. Comparative Politics 52(3): 515-532

Comparing America: Reflections on Democracy Across Subfields. 2019. Perspectives on Politics 17(3): 788-800

The Contradictions of Democratic Innovation in the United States, in The Governance Report 2017, ed. Hertie School of Governance. Oxford University Press

Illicit Tactics as Substitutes: Election Fraud, Ballot Reform and Contested Congressional Elections in the United States, 1860-1930, (with Jan Teorell). 2017. Comparative Political Studies 50(5): 665-696

Democracy in America (with Nolan McCarty). 2015. Global Politics 6(S1), 49–55

Related Writing

California's Election Reforms Should Be a Model for Other States, 2023, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The case for mandatory universal voting: A review of E.J. Dionne and Miles Rapaport's 100% Democracy, 2022, The Washington Post

Why a healthy democracy should welcome conflict and uncertainty: A review of Jan-Werner Muller's Democracy Rules, 2021, The Washington Post

Neoliberalism: The Rise and Fall, 2021, American Purpose

Democracy in Peril?, 2020, American Purpose

Civil Society in the Neoliberal Age, 2020, Global Perspectives

The Politics of Post-Pandemic Education, 2021, The Niskanen Center

Patronage and the Pandemic, 2020, The American Interest

Political Reform and American Democracy, 2020, The American Interest

Global Populisms and Their Challenges with Anna Grzymala-Busse, Michael McFaul, and Frank Fukuyama, 2020. Stanford Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies White Paper.

Are Strong Parties the Answer? A Review of Responsible Parties, 2019. Journal of Democracy 30(3): 173-178

Political Parties: What Are They Good For?, 2019. New America Political Reform Essay Collection.

Making Better Use of Lessons From Abroad For American Democracy (with Thomas Carothers), 2019, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Future of Democratic Capitalism, Winter 2019, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas

Reassessing American Democracy: The Enduring Challenge of Racial Exclusion (with Johanna Kalb). 2018. University of Michigan Law Review Online Vol. 117: 55-62.

The Paradox of Party Polarization, 2017, in The American Interest

Polarization and Partisanship. The American Interest, Nov/Dec 2015

Reforming Lobbying and Campaign Finance. A Report of the Program on American Democracy in Comparative Perspective, 2015

Electoral System Reform in the United States. A Report of the Program on American Democracy in Comparative Perspective, Stanford University, 2014

Comparative Budget Policy: Lessons for the United States. A Report of the Program on American Democracy in Comparative Perspective, Stanford University, 2014

"Culture War? A Closer Look at the Role of Religion, Denomination, and Religiosity in US Public Opinion" (with Shauna Shames and Katherine Levine). In Faith, Politics, and Sexual Diversity, ed. David Rayside and Clyde Wilcox. University of British Columbia Press, 2011.