Go Back

Photo of Torsten Persson

Torsten Persson Economist

Torsten Persson’s research focuses on the politics of economic policymaking. He is an expert on how income distribution influences economic growth and how policy is created in federations. Persson’s most recent work investigates alternative political systems and determines how these systems influence electoral rules and forms of government. His expertise has been sought for advisory to several governments and international organizations, including the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of Sweden.


Foreign Honorary Member of the American Economic Association, 2016 .

Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, 2012.

Honorary doctorates at Aalto University and Mannheim University, 2011.

Elected President of the Econometric Society, 2008.

Elected President of the European Economic Association, 2003.

Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2001.

European Economic Association Yrjö Jahnsson Medal, 1997.

Söderberg Prize, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 1995.

Relevant Publications

T. Besley and T. Persson, "The logic of political violence", Quarterly Journal of Economics 126, 1411-1445, 2011.

T. Besley and T. Persson, "State capacity, conflict and development", Econometrica 78, 1-34, 2010.

T. Besley and T. Persson, "The origins of state capacity: Property rights, taxation and politics", American Economic Review 99, 1218-1244, 2009.

T. Persson and G. Tabellini, "Constitutional rules and fiscal policy outcomes", American Economic Review 94, 25-46, 2004.

T. Persson, G. Roland, and G. Tabellini, "Comparative politics and public finance", Journal of Political Economy 108, 1121-1161, 2000.


T. Besley and T. Persson, Pillars of Prosperity: The Political Economics of Development Clusters, Yrjö Jahnsson Lectures, Princeton University Press, 2011

T. Persson and G. Tabellini, The Economic Effects of Constitutions. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003.

T. Persson and G. Tabellini, The Economic Effects of Constitutions. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003.

T. Persson and G. Tabellini, Macroeconomic Policy, Credibility and Politics. New York, NY: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1990.



Program Director Institutions, Organizations & Growth

Senior Fellow Institutions, Organizations & Growth


Stockholm UniversityInstitute for International Economic Studies


PhD (Economics) University of Stockholm



Ideas Related to Torsten Persson

News | Institutions, Organizations & Growth

Social norms can bolster, diminish commitment to paying taxes

The reason most people pay their taxes has more to do with social norms than the law, suggests new research....

News | Institutions, Organizations & Growth

Support innovation by institutional reforms, CIFAR Fellows advise Chinese leaders

Three CIFAR Senior Fellows told Chinese leaders they may have to undertake institutional reforms to help move the country’s economy...