Richard Nielsen

Richard Nielsen

Associate Professor of Political Science

CV (pdf)

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


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.)


17.S919 Introduction to International Relations


Richard Nielsen, Charles stewart, Darren Acemoglu

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.