Michael Lee

Title: Associate Professor
Campus Affiliation: Graduate Center/Hunter College
E-mail: michael.lee@hunter.cuny.edu
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D. (Indiana University)
Research Interests: International Relations; International Political Economics; Conducting and Presenting Political Science Research

Michael Lee is an Associate Professor at CUNY-Hunter College. His work explores financial crises, global economic governance, security, and the rise of populism. In addition to numerous articles his book From Malaise to Meltdown: The International Origins of Financial Folly, 1844- was published in 2020.


From Malaise to Meltdown: The International Origins of Financial Folly, 1844 – (University of Toronto Press, 2020)

For the past two centuries, the great power sitting atop the international global financial system has enjoyed outsized rewards. As the saying goes, however, all good things come to an end. Providing insights into the evolution of the global political economy, From Malaise to Meltdown identifies the main instigators behind the global financial crises we’ve seen in the last two hundred years. Michael Lee shows that, in time, power diffuses from the leading economy to others, creating an intensely competitive push for global financial leadership. Hungry for the benefits of global leadership, declining leaders and aspiring challengers alike roll back long-standing regulatory safeguards in an effort to spark growth. Risks to global financial stability mount as a result of this rollback and waves of severe financial crises soon follow. As Lee deftly shows, the Long Depression of 1873–1896, the Great Depression of 1929–1939, and the financial crisis of 2008 are part of the same recurrent pattern: global competition disrupts the longstanding political equilibria, prompting a search for new, risky ideas among the most powerful states. From Malaise to Meltdown presents a sweeping but accessible historical narrative about the coevolution of power, ideas, and domestic politics, supported by archival research into the risky decisions that ushered in the worst financial crises in history.

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles
2019 –  Global Populism or Embedded Plutocracy, Survival, 61(2): 53-82. 2018. Banking on War: the diversity of financial sector preferences toward conflict (with Nicolas Blarel and Adrian Florea), Political Studies (Published online before print: https://doi.org/10.1177/0032321718813570).

2017 –  “Multiple Baskets: Diverse Racial Frames and the 2016 Republican Primary”, New Political Science, 39(4): 631-650.

2017 – “Going Beyond the Existing Consensus: The Use of Games in International Relations Education,” with Zachary Shirkey, PS: Political Science, 50(2): 571-575.

2016. “How many lightbulbs does it take to change the financial system? Economic Ideas and Financial Regulation, 1846-2007” in British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 18(4): 868-888.

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