Anna Grzymala-Busse, Ph.D.

Stanford University

Country: United States (California)

About Me:

I am the Michelle and Kevin Douglas Professor of International Studies and a Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute. Originally from Poland, I received my PhD from Harvard University and taught at Yale University and the University of Michigan. I am the author of award-winning three books: on the reinvention of authoritarian ruling parties, on political competition as the driver of state building, and on religious influence on secular policymaking. My research focuses on political parties, state development and transformation, religion and politics, and post-communist politics. Other areas include populism, informal institutions, and the role of temporality and causal mechanisms in social science explanations. Please see my website for publications and more information.

Research Interests

Post-Communist Politics

Political Parties and Interest Groups

Religion & Politics

European Politics

Comparative Political Institutions

Comparative Democratization


Religious Influence


Authoritarian Successor Parties


State Capacity

Democratic Erosion

My Research:

My research on political parties analyzes on the transformation of communist successor parties in Europe and other authoritarian successors worldwide into "good democrats," the rise of populist parties and movements, and the role of parties in building the state administration, corruption, and religious influence on politics. My work on religion and politics examines church influence on policy (abortion, divorce, education, same-sex marriage, stem cell research) even when the majority of voters does not want such influence, how religious organizations pre-empt and substitute for state formation, and the importance of religious doctrine in determining policy preferences and actions. My geographic focus is on post-communist Europe, western Europe, US and Canada.

Media Appearances:

Radio Appearances:

(2019) NPR

World Affairs San Francisco Program

(2014) France 24

Discussion of the 25th anniversary of the fall of communism

(2014) CBS Radio

Discussion of 25th anniversary of fall of communism

(2010) NPR

Discussion of Smolensk tragedy