David Szakonyi

David Szakonyi
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Monroe 416
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Political economy; business-government relations; post-Soviet politics; corruption; authoritarianism; clientelism

Professor Szakonyi's research is devoted to understanding how elites translate economic power into political influence and skew policy towards their own private interests. His primary focus is on Russia and the former Soviet Union, but he is also engaged in work on India, Brazil and the United States. His book project examines why businesspeople run for elected political office worldwide, how their firms perform as a result, and whether individuals with private sector experience make different policy decisions. Other research looks at the effectiveness of anti-corruption campaigns, employers mobilizing their voters to turnout during elections, and nepotism under authoritarian rule. He has appeared on multiple international and local television networks to discuss his research, as well as has published in both academic and popular media outlets.


PhD, Columbia University, 2016



Timothy Frye, Ora John Reuter, and David Szakonyi. 2014. “Political Machines at Work: Voter Mobilization and Electoral Subversion in the Workplace.” World Politics, 66 (2): 195-228.

David Szakonyi and Johannes Urpelainen. 2014. “Who Benefits From Economic Reform? Firms and Distributive Politics.” Journal of Politics, 76 (03), 841-858.

Ora John Reuter and David Szakonyi. 2014. “Online Social Media and Political Awareness in Competitive Authoritarian Regimes.” British Journal of Political Science, 45 (01), 29-51.

David Szakonyi and Johannes Urpelainen. 2014. “Veto Players and the Value of Political Control: A Theory with Evidence From Energy Privatization.” Comparative Political Studies, 47 (10), 1384-1415.

David Szakonyi. 2018. “Businesspeople in Elected Office: Identifying Private Benefits from Firm-Level Returns.” American Political Science Review. 112 (2), 322-338.

Timothy Frye, Ora John Reuter, and David Szakonyi. 2018. “Hitting Them with Carrots: Voter Intimidation and Vote Buying In Russia.” British Journal of Political Science. FirstView, 1-25.

Office Hours

Wednesdays 2:45PM - 4:45PM

Classes Taught

PSC 2366 - Russian Politics

PSC 3192W - Money and Influence in Politics Around the World