Peter Swenson

Peter Swenson's picture
Charlotte Marion Saden Professor of Political Science and Professor in the Institution for Social and Policy Studies
+1 (203) 432-5677


607 Lake Drive, Guilford, CT
1(203) 432-5677


  • Ph.D., Yale University, 1986
  • B.A.: Princeton University 1977


Peter  A. Swenson is Yale’s C.M. Saden Professor of  Political Science. He specializes in the comparative political economy of labor markets and social welfare in Europe and the United States. He teaches graduate  and undergraduate courses on the economic, political and social foundations of social policy and market regulation in developed capitalist democracies.

Among other things, Swenson is the author of two books, Fair Shares: Unions, Pay and Politics in Sweden and West  Germany (1989) and Capitalists  against Markets: The Making of Labor Markets and Welfare States in the United  States and Sweden (2002), which received honorable mention for the  APSA Luebbert Prize for best book in Comparative Politics. He was awarded  the APSA’s Follett Prize for best article in politics and history for  “Varieties of Capitalist Interests: Power, Institutions, and the  Regulatory Welfare State in the United States and Sweden” (Studies in American Political Development, 2004).

Swenson is now completing a new book, The Political Transformation of American Medicine: Doctors, Democracy, and Disease in the Progressive Era, a history of medical politics from the 1870s to the 1920s. It deals with the dramatic conflicts inside medicine as well as between medicine and society over quality, equality, and economy in health care delivery. It covers subjects like medical organization, licensure, medical education, public health, pharmaceutical  regulation, and the early movement for guaranteed health insurance. Swenson’s other publications and a future volume on medical politics deal with the shifting interests and coalitions of organized provider, business, and labor groups in the evolution of the “health care state.”

Among various articles are “Good Distribution, Bad Delivery, and Ugly Politics: The  Traumatic Beginnings of Germany’s Health Care System,” in Shapiro,  Swenson, and Donno, eds., Divide  and Deal: The Politics of Distribution in Democracies (2008), and “Misrepresented Interests: Business, Medicare, and the American Health Care State,” forthcoming in Studies in American Political Development (2018).


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