Dr Samuel De Canio
Senior Lecturer in Political Economy
- Policy and society
Samuel DeCanio is a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Economy whose research examines general theoretical questions about how knowledge interacts with social, economic, and political institutions, and specific historical questions about the creation of modern bureaucratic states. He has published articles in the American Journal of Political Science, Critical Review, Journal of Politics, Party Politics, Social Philosophy and Policy, and Studies in American Political Development. His first book, Democracy and the Origins of the American Regulatory State (Yale University Press, 2015), examines democratic control over the creation of the American regulatory state in the late 19th century and argues high levels of public ignorance prevented voters from controlling important policy decisions at key moments in American political development.
His current book manuscript, Politics, Markets, and War: How Conflict and Ignorance Shape the Modern World (advanced contract with Yale University Press), examines how knowledge and ignorance influence economic markets, democratic politics, and the causes of war among states. The book attributes the irrationalities of modern political life to information problems exhibited by public decisions, and specifically focuses on how the singular nature of states’ decisions limits opportunities to observe policy counterfactuals or generate experimental political knowledge.
Dr DeCanio is also working on projects examining American progressivism and the ideas of Walter Lippmann and Herbert Croly, causal inference and the market, monopoly power and welfare analysis. He is also conducting research into the nomadic Bedouin of Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter, and the critiques of modernity made by British Orientalists such as Wilfred Thesiger and John “Pasha” Glubb.
Since arriving at King’s, he has received grants from the British Academy, the Hill Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, the Raheem Sterling Foundation, the Royal Geographical Society, and the Oxford Russia Fund. In 2023 Dr DeCanio was awarded the Thesiger-Oman International Fellowship from the Royal Geographical Society for his research into British travel writers and the Bedouin of the Middle East. Dr DeCanio is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, he co-directs (with Michael Bankole) the Raheem Sterling Scholarship Program at King’s College London, and is the Associate Director of the Centre for the Study of Governance and Society. Prior to arriving at King’s he was an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Yale University where he was also a resident fellow of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies.
More information about his publications can be found on his google scholar page.
Dr DeCanio’s research examines general theoretical questions about how knowledge interacts with social institutions, and specific historical questions about the creation of modern states. His book, Democracy and the Origins of the American Regulatory State (Yale University Press, 2015), argues high levels of voter ignorance grants democratic governments significant autonomy from popular control, and examines the creation of the American regulatory state in the late 19th century. His current research compares how knowledge interacts with markets and firms, democratic politics and political parties, and international relations among states.
- American Political Development
- Comparative Political Economy