Professor EmeritusUniversity of Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Curriculum Vitae

  • Ph.D., University of Chicago 1977, Political Science
  • M.A., University of Chicago 1974, Political Science
  • B.A., University of Pennsylvania 1969, Political Science
More About

With Fan Wen, a leader at China’s National School of Administration, he coedited A Bridge Too Far? Commonalities and Differences between China and the U.S. (Rowman & Littlefield). He is also the author of Institutional Realism (Yale), Choice-Free Rationality (Michigan), and numerous articles in leading scholarly journals. He directs the Maymester China Study Abroad Program, which he created in 2005. He has also lectured extensively at Chinese universities. From 2002-2008 Grafstein served as Head of the School’s Department of Political Science. He currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Theoretical Politics, and has served on the boards of the Journal of Politics and Social Science Quarterly. He received his A.B. degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Areas of Expertise
  • Political Economy: economic influences on voting
  • Politics of risk and social insurance
  • Politics and financial markets
  • Formal theory
Course Instruction
  • POLS 4072 Political Economy
  • POLS 4060 Problems in Democratic Theory
  • POLS 4190 Government and Economy of China
  • POLS 8040 Political Economy
Research Interests

Grafstein’s research focuses on domestic and comparative political economy, including economic influences on voting behavior, the politics of social insurance programs like Social Security, the political consequences of financial risk, and more recently political economic models of political extremism and the politics of corruption.

Selected Publications


  • A Bridge Too Far? Commonalities and Differences Between China and the U.S., co- edited with Fan Wen. (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009).
  • Choice-Free Rationality: A Positive Theory of Political Behavior (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999).
  • Institutional Realism: Social and Political Constraints on Rational Actors (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992).

Selected Articles:

  • Antisocial Security: The Puzzle of Beggar-Thy-Children Policies.” American Journal of Political Science 53 (2009): 710-25.
  • “The Puzzle of Weak Pocketbook Voting.” Journal of Theoretical Politics 21 (2009): 451-82.
  • “Surprise Party: Estimating the Consequences of Unexpected Election Results.” Public Choice 137 (2008): 315-28. With Kiki Caruson.
  • “The Impact of Employment Status on Voting Behavior.@ Journal of Politics 67 (2005): 804-24.
  • “Strategic Voting in Presidential Primaries: Problems of Explanation and Interpretation.” Political Research Quarterly 56 (2003): 513-20.
  • “The Political Economy of Postmaterialism: Material Explanations of Changing Values.” Economics and Politics 14 (2002): 163-90.
  • “What Rational Political Actors Can Expect,” 2002. Journal of Theoretical Politics.  14:139-165.
  • “Confronting Political Economic Theories of Voting with Evidence,” 2001. Political Analysis. 9:362-78. (With Ann Moser).
  • “Employment, Party Economic Performance, and the Formation of Partisan Preferences,” 2000.  Journal of Theoretical Politics. 12:325-351.
  • Robert Grafstein. 1999. Choice-Free Rationality. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.