Richard Nielsen

Richard Nielsen

Associate Professor of Political Science

CV (pdf)

Islam; terrorism; security studies; foreign aid; international law; international political economy; development; statistics.

Biography

Richard Nielsen is an Associate Professor of Political Science at MIT. He completed his PhD (Government) and AM (Statistics) at Harvard University, and holds a BA from Brigham Young University. His forthcoming book, Deadly Clerics (Cambridge University Press), uses statistical text analysis and fieldwork in Cairo mosques to understand the radicalization of jihadi clerics in the Arab world. Nielsen also writes on international law, the political economy of human rights, political violence, and political methodology. Some of this work is published or forthcoming in The American Journal of Political Science, International Studies Quarterly, Political Analysis, and Sociological Methods and Research. In 2017-2019 he is an Andrew Carnegie fellow, and his work has previously been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Recent Publications

"Rewarding Human Rights? Selective Aid Sanctions against Repressive States," International Studies Quarterly (30 April 2013) pp.1-13

"Foreign Aid Shocks as a Cause of Violent Armed Conflict,” American Journal of Political Science, 55 (2): 219-232 (with Michael Findley, Zachary Davis, Tara Candland, and Daniel Nielson.)

Teaching

17.S919 Introduction to International Relations

News

Research on Religion Podcast: Richard Nielsen on Deadly Clerics

Research on Religion

Political rebellion and violence in the Middle East has recently been associated with religious belief and rhetoric, often spurred on by the writings and recordings of Muslim clerics. What motivates imams to advocate such tactics? Prof. Richard Nielsen, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, answers this question with reference to previous theories of revolution and an examination of the career paths of imams who advocate violent jihad. 

Richard Nielsen on Deadly Clerics

The Baylor Institute for Studies on Religion

Political rebellion and violence in the Middle East has recently been associated with religious belief and rhetoric, often spurred on by the writings and recordings of Muslim clerics.  What motivates imams to advocate such tactics? 

Why some Muslim clerics become jihadists

Peter Dizikes MIT News Office

What turns people into radical jihadist clerics? A new book by an MIT political scientist offers a new answer: thwarted career ambitions.

Nielsen, Stewart, & Acemoglu, awarded Carnegie fellowships

Peter Dizikes MIT News

MIT economist Daron Acemoglu and political scientists Richard Nielsen and Charles Stewart III have been named to the 2017 class of Andrew Carnegie Fellows, a prestigious honor supporting research in the social sciences and humanities. The MIT trio is among 35 scholars and intellectuals receiving the fellowships, which are awarded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Each fellow receives up to $200,000 to support a research sabbatical.

Biography

Richard Nielsen is an Associate Professor of Political Science at MIT. He completed his PhD (Government) and AM (Statistics) at Harvard University, and holds a BA from Brigham Young University. His forthcoming book, Deadly Clerics (Cambridge University Press), uses statistical text analysis and fieldwork in Cairo mosques to understand the radicalization of jihadi clerics in the Arab world. Nielsen also writes on international law, the political economy of human rights, political violence, and political methodology. Some of this work is published or forthcoming in The American Journal of Political Science, International Studies Quarterly, Political Analysis, and Sociological Methods and Research. In 2017-2019 he is an Andrew Carnegie fellow, and his work has previously been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Recent Publications

"Rewarding Human Rights? Selective Aid Sanctions against Repressive States," International Studies Quarterly (30 April 2013) pp.1-13

"Foreign Aid Shocks as a Cause of Violent Armed Conflict,” American Journal of Political Science, 55 (2): 219-232 (with Michael Findley, Zachary Davis, Tara Candland, and Daniel Nielson.)

Teaching

17.S919 Introduction to International Relations

News

Research on Religion Podcast: Richard Nielsen on Deadly Clerics

Research on Religion

Political rebellion and violence in the Middle East has recently been associated with religious belief and rhetoric, often spurred on by the writings and recordings of Muslim clerics. What motivates imams to advocate such tactics? Prof. Richard Nielsen, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, answers this question with reference to previous theories of revolution and an examination of the career paths of imams who advocate violent jihad. 

Richard Nielsen on Deadly Clerics

The Baylor Institute for Studies on Religion

Political rebellion and violence in the Middle East has recently been associated with religious belief and rhetoric, often spurred on by the writings and recordings of Muslim clerics.  What motivates imams to advocate such tactics? 

Why some Muslim clerics become jihadists

Peter Dizikes MIT News Office

What turns people into radical jihadist clerics? A new book by an MIT political scientist offers a new answer: thwarted career ambitions.

Nielsen, Stewart, & Acemoglu, awarded Carnegie fellowships

Peter Dizikes MIT News

MIT economist Daron Acemoglu and political scientists Richard Nielsen and Charles Stewart III have been named to the 2017 class of Andrew Carnegie Fellows, a prestigious honor supporting research in the social sciences and humanities. The MIT trio is among 35 scholars and intellectuals receiving the fellowships, which are awarded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Each fellow receives up to $200,000 to support a research sabbatical.