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Jonas Nahm

Jonas Nahm

Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment


I am an Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC.My research interests focus on the intersection of economic and industrial policy, energy policy, and environmental politics. I study the role of the state in processes of industrial restructuring that accompany policy responses to climate change and clean energy transitions more broadly. My work utilizes clean energy transitions in China, Germany, and the United States to engage two debates in comparative political economy: (1) the role of the state in shaping the international division of labor in highly globalized industries, and (2) sources of state capacity in interest group politics during periods of industrial restructuring.My book project, titled Collaborative Advantage: Forging Green Industries in the New Global Economy, uses the development of renewable energy sectors to investigate the political economy of innovation and industrial development in highly globalized industries. The manuscript shows that new possibilities for collaboration among firms in the global economy have reinforced national patterns of industrial specialization. In the decades before international economic integration made it easier for firms from around the world to work together on tasks ranging from production to innovation, differences in national capitalisms yielded equally distinct national industrial specializations for production, innovation, and competitiveness. Globalization has since challenged the primacy of nation states by moving beyond their territorial reach many of the activities that now make up the global economy. However, as I show in the book, globalization not only continues to be mediated by domestic institutions, it also causes persistent and consequential divergence of such institutions and national industrial specializations over time.My research has been funded by the Minerva Research Initiative and the U.S. Army Research Office, the German National Academic Foundation, the World Bank Institute and the Korean Development Institute, the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, the Harvard Center for European Studies, the MIT Center for International Studies, and the Caroll Wilson Foundation. I was an MIT Energy Fellow and a Fellow of the German National Academic Foundation.Prior to coming to SAIS, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. I hold a PhD in Political Science from MIT and speak German and Mandarin Chinese.
Jonas Nahm and Johannes Urpelainen. ForthcomingThe Enemy Within? Green Industrial Policy and Stranded Assets in China’s Power Sector. Global Environmental Politics.

Jonas Meckling and Jonas Nahm. 2021. "Strategic State Capacity: How States Counter Opposition to Climate Policy.Comparative Political Studies.
  • Winner, 2021 American Political Science Association Award for the best paper in public policy.
John Helveston and Jonas Nahm. 2019. “China’s key role in scaling low-carbon energy technologies.” Science 366 (6467): 794-796.

Jonas Nahm. 2019. “The Energy Politics of China.” In Kathleen Hancock and Juliann Allison (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Energy Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press 

Jonas Meckling and Jonas Nahm. 2019. "The Politics of Technology Bans: Industrial Policy Competition and Green Goals for the Global Auto Industry": Energy Policy 126: 470-479

Jonas Meckling and Jonas Nahm. 2018. "When do States Disrupt Industries? Electric Cars and the Politics of Innovation." Review of International Political Economy 25(4): 505-529. 

Jonas Meckling and Jonas Nahm. 2018. "The Power of Process: State Capacity and Climate Policy.Governance 31(4): 741-757.
  • Winner, 2018 American Political Science Association Evan J. Ringquist Award for the best paper published in a relevant journal in the last two years​.
Jonas Nahm. 2017. “Renewable Futures and Industrial Legacies: Wind and Solar Sectors in China, Germany, and the United States.” Business and Politics 19(1): 68-106. 
Jonas Nahm. 2017. “Exploiting the Implementation Gap: Policy Divergence and Industrial Upgrading in China’s Wind and Solar Sectors.”  The China Quarterly 231:705-727. 
  • Winner, 2017 Gordon White Prize for the most original article published in The China Quarterly
Genia Kostka and Jonas Nahm. 2017.“Central–Local Relations: Recentralization and Environmental Governance in China.”  The China Quarterly 231:567-582. 
Jonas Nahm and Edward S. Steinfeld. 2014. “Scale-Up Nation:  China’s Specialization in Innovative Manufacturing.” World Development 54: 288-300.
Jonas Nahm and Edward S. Steinfeld. 2014. “The Role of Innovative Manufacturing in High-Tech Product Development: Evidence from China’s Renewable Energy Sector” in Production in the Innovation Economy, edited by Richard Locke and Rachel Wellhausen. MIT Press. 



  • China
  • Germany


  • Disruptive Innovation
  • Economic Development
  • Globalization
  • Energy Issues
  • Environmental Issues
  • Newly Industrialized Countries
  • Political Economy & Development
  • Privatization and Private Sector Development


  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • German

In the News

Could an industrial finance corporation help the United States succeed with clean tech manufacturing?

Jonas Nahm wrote for Brown University’s Climate Solutions Lab, 11/17

The competition conundrum.

Jonas Nahm quoted in The Wire China, 05/30

U.S. advised to be humble and listen on climate.

Jonas Nahm quoted in China Daily, 05/06

Sino-American cooperation needed to save the planet.

Jonas Nahm participated in Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft webinar, 04/22

How the race for renewable energy is reshaping global politics.

Jonas Nahm quoted in Financial Times, 02/04

Here’s what happens when every government vehicle is electric.

Jonas Nahm quoted in The New Republic, 01/28

Green recovery plans for the COVID-19 crisis.

Jonas Nahm testified before U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, 9/23

Why we can’t solve the climate crisis without China.

Jonas Nahm wrote for Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, 9/18