Howard Rosenthal

Howard Lewis Rosenthal

1939 - 2022
Professor of Politics, New York University

Howard Rosenthal passed away on July 28, 2022. Read Rosenthal's obituary.

About Howard

Rosenthal’s areas of research include political economy, American politics, political methodology, comparative politics. He is currently an editorial board member for the journal, Economics of Governance, and serves on the advisory board of VoteWorld, a website that archives, maintains, and distributes datasets of roll-call voting from legislative bodies throughout the international community. 


In the News

Research discussed by Thomas B. Edsall, in "The Changing Shape of the Parties is Changing Where They Get Their Money," The New York Times, September 18, 2019.
Research discussed by Jake Miller, in "Party Lines," Harvard Medical School, April 11, 2018.
Quoted by Thomas B. Edsall in "Trump’s Tool Kit Does Not Include the Constitution," The New York Times, February 8, 2018.
Research discussed by Matthew Yglesias, in "American Democracy is Doomed," Vox, March 2, 2015.
Quoted by Jeff Sommer in "Does Wall Street Like Gridlock? It Depends on the Grid," New York Times, November 22, 2014.
Research discussed by Derek Willis, in "Doctors Aren't Strongly Republican Anymore," New York Times, June 2, 2014.
Opinion: "Polarization in Congress Has Risen Sharply. Where is It Going Next?," Howard Lewis Rosenthal (with Christopher Hare and Keith T. Poole), Washington Post, February 13, 2014.
Opinion: "A History (and Future) of Congressional Polarization," Howard Lewis Rosenthal (with Adam Bonica), Reuters, February 4, 2013.


"The Political Polarization of Physicians in the United States: An Analysis of Campaign Contributions to Federal Elections, 1991-2012" (with Adam Bonica and David Rothman). JAMA Internal Medicine 174, no. 8 (2014): 1308-1317.

Argues that between 1991 and 2012, the political alignment of U.S. physicians shifted from predominantly Republican toward the Democrats. Discusses how variables driving this change, including the increasing percentage of female physicians and the decreasing percentage of physicians in solo and small practices, are likely to drive further changes.

"Political Bubbles: Financial Crises and the Failure of American Democracy" (with Nolan McCarty and Keith T. Poole) (Princeton University Press, 2013).

Demonstrates how political bubbles helped create the real estate-generated financial bubble and the 2008 financial crisis. Argues that similar government oversights in the aftermath of the crisis undermined Washington's response to the "popped" financial bubble, and shows how such patterns have occurred repeatedly throughout US history.

"Why Hasn’t Democracy Slowed Rising Inequality" (with Adam Bonica, Nolan McCarty, and Keith T. Poole). Journal of Economic Perspectives 27, no. 3 (2012): 103-124.

Explores five possible reasons why the U.S. political system has failed to counterbalance rising inequality.

"What Do We Owe Each Other" (with David J. Rothman) (Transaction Publishing, 2008).

Addresses critical issues in contemporary American society, ranging from the making of public opinion, the nature of the presumed social contract between government and its people, the special place of corporate governance and institutional investors with respect to social stability, the search for educational equality in a world of growing income disparities, the huge run up in prison populations and the decline of American citizenship, and not least, the ethical issues of selfless and selfish motivations with respect to organ transplants, and the sale of body parts.

"Ideology and Congress" (with Keith T. Poole) (Transaction Publishing, 2007).

Analyzes over 13 million individual roll call votes spanning the two centuries since Congress began recording votes in 1789. By tracing the voting patterns of Congress throughout the country's history, the authors argue that, despite a wide array of issues facing legislators, over 81 percent of their voting decisions can be attributed to a consistent ideological position ranging from ultraconservatism to ultraliberalism. 

"Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches" (with Nolan McCarty) (MIT Press, 2006).

Argues that increasing polarization in recent decades has been closely accompanied by fundamental social and economic changes--most notably, a parallel rise in income inequality. Examines the relationships of polarization, wealth disparity, immigration, and other forces, characterizing it as a dance of give and take and back and forth causality. 

"Credit Markets for the Poor" (with Patrick Bolton) (Russell Sage Foundation, 2005).

Demonstrates how weak credit markets are impeding the social and economic mobility of the needy.  By detailing the many disadvantages that impoverished people face when seeking to borrow, highlights a significant national problem and offers solutions for the future.