Campbell’s areas of expertise include how policy ideas are generated and influence policy making in different ways in different countries; how institutions affect economic competitiveness in the advanced economies; and how politics shifted to the right since the 1970s in America. Much of his work compares the United States with other advanced countries. More specifically, he has written recently about how think tanks, government research agencies, and other types of policy research organizations operate; how nation-states affect national economic performance; and how different countries responded to the 2008 financial crisis. In the past he has also written about tax policy, nuclear energy policy, the development of the U.S. economy, and the emergence of post-communism in Europe.
"Institutional Analysis and the Role of Ideas in Political Economy" Theory and Society 27 (1998): 377-409.
Shows how ideas (intellectual paradigms, rhetorical frames, public values, and programmatic ideas) helped bring neoliberalism and Reaganomics to prominence in the United States.
Institutional Change and Globalization (Princeton University Press, 2004).
Presents evidence that globalization has not triggered a “race to the bottom” in tax policy among the advanced capitalist countries.
"Institutional Competitiveness in the Global Economy: Denmark, the United States and the Varieties of Capitalism" (with ). Regulation and Governance 1, no. 3 (2007): 230-246.
Shows that national economies with high taxes and government spending can be as economically competitive and successful as those with low taxes and spending.
"The U.S. Financial Crisis: Lessons for Theories of Institutional Complementarity" Socio-Economic Review 9, no. 2 (2011): 211-234.
Shows that the U.S. financial crisis was driven by many factors, including especially a gradual evisceration of state regulatory authority by Republicans and Democrats alike – a neoliberal move toward deregulation in financial and other markets.
The National Origins of Policy Ideas: Knowledge Regimes in the United States, France, Germany, and Denmark (with ) (Princeton University Press, 2014).
Presents evidence about how private think tanks, state research agencies, and other policy research organizations generate ideas and disseminate them to policymakers in very different ways in the United States, France, Germany, and Denmark.
The World of States (with ) (Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming).
Shows how different types of nation-states affect socioeconomic development around the world. It argues that states that best maintain order, protect the population, and cultivate social solidarity are best suited to facilitate modernization, economic growth, and prosperity for its citizens. It considers the hegemonic U.S. state and whether its hegemony will last; the European Union; the newly emerging economies (e.g., BRICs); and the dysfunctional (e.g., failed) states of Africa. Written for a general non-academic audience.
In the News
"Dartmouth Professor Describes Long Term Trends in the US that Resulted in Trump Victory," John L. Campbell, Interview with Rob Lorei, WMNF, June 13, 2018.