Frederick W. Mayer

Frederick W. Mayer

Professor of Political Science

External Address: 
124 Rubenstein Hall, Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Durham, NC 27708-0243
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90245, Durham, NC 27708-0243
(919) 613-9209
International Relations

Frederick "Fritz" Mayer is Professor of Public Policy at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and a Professor of Political Science and Environment. He teaches courses on the political economy of public policy, globalization and governance, political analysis, and leadership. In addition, Professor Mayer is the director of POLIS: The Center for Political Leadership, Innovation and Service. Mayer's research concerns the role of stories in politics. His book Narrative Politics: Stories and Collective Action (Oxford University Press, 2014) argues that shared stories are essential tools for enabling communities to overcome free riding and other obstacles to collective action. He is particularly interested in the role of narrative in global environmental politics. Mayer’s second line of research addresses globalization and its effects, with particular emphasis on the labor and environmental impacts of economic integration. His book Interpreting NAFTA: The Art and Science of Political Analysis (Columbia University Press, 1998) chronicled the history of NAFTA and explores the nature of the political processes that created NAFTA. Recent work has involved exploring the policy implications of a world in which most international trade is conducted within "global value chains," and in which a relatively few large firms enjoy considerable power in defining the terms of trade.
In addition to his academic experience, Mayer served as senior international trade and foreign policy advisor to former U. S. Sen. Bill Bradley from 1992 to 1993. In previous stints in Washington, Mayer served as an aide to Congressman Sander Levin, as a policy analyst at the U.S. Environment Protection Agency, and as editor at the Close Up Foundation, an educational non-profit organization. From 1997 to 2000, he was director of Duke’s Center for North American Studies. Mayer received an A.B. in history and literature from Harvard College, and an M.P.P. and a Ph.D. in public policy, both from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


  • Ph.D., Harvard University 1988

Mayer, Frederick W. “Conflict Amid Consensus in American Trade Policy by Martha Gibson.” Political Science Quarterly, vol. 116, no. 2, Wiley, June 2001, pp. 324–25. Crossref, doi:10.2307/798076. Full Text

Mayer, F. W. “NAFTA and sovereignty: Trade-offs for Canada, Mexico, and the United States.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol. 17, no. 2, JOHN WILEY & SONS INC, Mar. 1998, pp. 355–58.

Mayer, F. W. “Bargaining with Japan: What American pressure can and cannot do.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol. 17, no. 2, JOHN WILEY & SONS INC, Mar. 1998, pp. 355–58.

Mayer, F. W. “Basketball and public management: Testing what's important.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol. 11, no. 2, Jan. 1992, pp. 322–26. Scopus, doi:10.2307/3325373. Full Text

Mayer, F. W. “Managing domestic differences in international negotiations: The strategic use of internal side–payments.” International Organization, vol. 46, no. 4, Jan. 1992, pp. 793–818. Scopus, doi:10.1017/S0020818300033257. Full Text

Mayer, F. W. “Domestic politics and the strategy of international trade.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol. 10, no. 2, Jan. 1991, pp. 222–46. Scopus, doi:10.2307/3325173. Full Text


Selected Grants

National Resource Centers and Foreign Language and Area Studies awarded by Department of Education (Principal Investigator). 1997 to 2000

(92-0148) Symposium on the Policies of North American Free Trade awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 1991 to 1992