John L. Campbell

American political scientist, and Professor of Sociology

John L. Campbell (born 1952) is an American political scientist, and Professor of Sociology at Dartmouth College, and Professor of Political Economy at the Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, working in the fields of economic, political, and comparative sociology, globalization, comparative political economy and institutional analysis.


  • In advanced capitalist society the state helps shape the institutional organization of the economy. We show, how the state shapes the economy through the manipulation of property rights. The state's actions create pressures for change that lead actors to look for new forms of economic organization. The state also assists, leads, or constrains the process of selecting new forms of economic organization that emerge in response to these pressures, and it may or may not ratify these new forms. In contrast to the conventional literature on state economy relations that characterizes the U.S. state as having a weak capacity for successful economic intervention, we argue that property rights actions afford the U.S. state a previously unrecognized source of strength. Data come primarily from historical case studies of organizational transformation in the steel, automobile, commercial nuclear energy, telecommunications, dairy, meat-packing, and railroad sectors.
    • John L. Campbell and Leon N. Lindberg. "Property rights and the organization of economic activity by the state." American sociological review (1990): 634-647. p. 634, abstract
  • Property rights define the institutional basis of power relations in production, exchange and accumulation, rather than just the relationship of actors to property. The ability to manipulate property rights affords the state important leverage over the balance of power among actors in the economy.
    • John L. Campbell and Leon N. Lindberg. "Property rights and the organization of economic activity by the state." American sociological review (1990): 634-647. p. 642
  • Researchers in the social sciences have long debated whether policy analysis, economic theories and other sorts of ideas as well as self-interests affect policy-making in advanced capitalist countries. Many now agree that ideas matter a lot. Peter Hall, for instance, showed that big intellectual policy paradigms like Keynesianism and then neoliberalism shaped economic policy after the Second World War. Mark Blyth revealed how policy makers used ideas as weapons in their political struggles to reform taxation and government spending. Frank Dobbin argued that deep-seated values regarding the appropriate relationship between the state and economy influenced the development of national transportation policies. And others, particularly Vivien Schmidt, explained that cognitive and discursive structures helped frame policy debates in different ways in different countries.
    • John L. Campbell. The National Origins of Policy Ideas: Knowledge Regimes in the United States, France, Germany and Denmark. Princeton University Press, 2014.
  • For many years, attention in both public and intellectual fields was concentrated on the benefits of civil society. However, with the demand for greater state regulation of the economy and the increasing realisation that states of the fourth world will never advance without the enforcement of a rule of law, the tenor of debate is now changing.
  • John L. Campbell. The World of States, Bloomsbury Press, 2015. Book abstract