Richard Nielsen | People

Richard Nielsen
Associate Professor of Political Science


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 first book, Deadly Clerics: Blocked Ambition and the Paths to Jihad (Cambridge University Press, 2017) 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. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. During 2017-2019, he holds an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship for a project entitled "Islamic Authority in the Internet Age."




Publications | Selected 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.)




Research on Religion Podcast: "Richard Nielsen on Deadly Clerics," Baylor Institute for the Study of Religion, May 6,2018.