William Keech

William Keech

Research Professor Emeritus of Political Science

External Address: 
140 Science Drive, 204C Gross, Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 660-4354
American Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Economy, Political Institutions

William Keech is Research Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Political Science at Duke University. He is emeritus professor of political economy at Carnegie Mellon University and adjunct professor at the Qatar campus of Carnegie Mellon. From 1965 through 1996 he was on the political science faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been working at the intersection of political science and economics since the late 1970s. A leading example of his interests is Economic Politics: The Costs of Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 1995). This book argues that opportunistic incentives of democratic politics are not systematically at odds with good economic performance in the United States. Recent developments make him more pessimistic, and he is planning a second edition that will emphasize the risks of fiscal irresponsibility. Canada provides a contrast of a democratic country that is not fiscally irresponsible, as is argued in a chapter (co-authored with William Scarth of McMaster University) that compares the contemporary economic policies of the US and Canada. This will appear in Experiment in Democracy: Institutions and Policymaking in the United States and Canada, edited by Paul J. Quirk, Mark Warren, and Colin Campbell. For some time, Keech has been working on a book project entitled Economic Politics in Latin America: Rethinking Democracy and Authoritarianism. This manuscript argues that there is no simple, systematic relationship between regime type and economic performance. He teaches The Political Economy of Growth, Stabilization and Distribution, which is cross listed in political science and economics.


  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin at Madison 1966
  • M.A., University of Wisconsin at Madison 1962
  • B.A., Bucknell University 1961

Keech, William R. Economic Politics in the United States: The Costs and Risks of Democracy. Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Keech, W. R. Economic politics in the United States: The costs and risks of democracy, second edition. 2013, pp. 1–284. Scopus, doi:10.1017/CBO9781139035156. Full Text

Keech, W. R., and Michael Munger. “Political Economy.” International Encyclopedia of Political Science, 2010.

Keech, W. R., and M. C. Munger. “The anatomy of government failure.” Public Choice, vol. 164, no. 1–2, July 2015. Scopus, doi:10.1007/s11127-015-0262-y. Full Text

Keech, W. R., and M. C. Munger. “Erratum to: The anatomy of government failure(Public Choice, (2015), DOI 10.1007/s11127-015-0262-y).” Public Choice, vol. 164, no. 1–2, July 2015, pp. 43–44. Scopus, doi:10.1007/s11127-015-0268-5. Full Text

Keech, W. R., and Nara Dillon. “How China Became Capitalist, by Ronald Coase and Ning Wang.” Public Choice, vol. 158, Springer, 2014, pp. 289–91.

Keech, W. R. “Trudi C. Miller.” Ps: Political Science and Politics, vol. 41, no. 4, 2008. Manual, doi:10.2307/20452329. Full Text

Keech, W. R., and I. L. Morris. “Appointments, presidential power, and the federal reserve.” Journal of Macroeconomics, vol. 19, no. 2, Jan. 1997, pp. 253–67. Scopus, doi:10.1016/S0164-0704(97)00014-1. Full Text

Keech, W. R. “Partisanship, Institutions, and Change in American Trade Politics.” The Journal of Politics, vol. 57, no. 4, Jan. 1995, pp. 1130–42. Scopus, doi:10.2307/2960405. Full Text

KEECH, W. R. “Rules, Discretion, and Accountability in Macroeconomic Policymaking.” Governance, vol. 5, no. 3, Jan. 1992, pp. 259–78. Scopus, doi:10.1111/j.1468-0491.1992.tb00040.x. Full Text

Keech, W. R. “Politics, Economics, and Politics Again.” The Journal of Politics, vol. 53, no. 3, Jan. 1991, pp. 597–611. Scopus, doi:10.2307/2131572. Full Text

Keech, William R., and Kyoungsan Pak. “Electoral Cycles and Budgetary Growth in Veterans' Benefit Programs.” American Journal of Political Science, vol. 33, no. 4, JSTOR, Nov. 1989, pp. 901–901. Crossref, doi:10.2307/2111114. Full Text