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Jonas Nahm

Jonas Nahm

Associate Professor


I am an Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC.

My research interests lie in comparative political economy, at the intersection of climate policy, environmental politics, and economic and industrial policy. Clean energy transitions—the move away from fossil fuels for instance through the use of renewable energy and the electrification of the global auto sector—are changing domestic and international politics in real time. Against this background, my research uses the analytical tools of political science to examine what drives such state responses to climate change and to identify political obstacles to government attempts to decarbonize domestic economies.

Specifically, my work builds on insights from comparative politics and comparative political economy to study how economic coalitions—and the actions of firms in particular—structure the dynamics of clean energy transitions. At the same time, my research takes advantage of such transitions as especially useful laboratories to build and refine theory, as they bring together rapid technological change, interest group conflict between emerging industries and legacy sectors, and degrees of state intervention in the economy rarely witnessed outside of the context of late industrialization. 
My research agenda now spans three separate but interrelated strands: (a) green industrial policy and the drivers of the division of labor in the global economy, (b) sources of state capacity to overcome external opposition to clean energy transitions and climate policy, and (c) the political economy of green growth.

My book Collaborative Advantage: Forging Green Industries in the New Global Economy (Oxford University Press 2021) examines the development of the wind and solar industries, two historically important sectors that have long been the target of ambitious public policy. Against the backdrop of policy efforts that have generally failed to grasp the cross-national nature of innovation, the book offers a novel explanation for both the causes of changes in the global organization of innovation and their impact on domestic politics. As interdependence in global supply chains has again come under fire in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Collaborative Advantage challenges the notion that globalization is primarily about competition between nations, highlighting instead the central role of international collaboration in the global economy, particularly in clean energy industries critical to solving the climate crisis. The book won the APSA award for best book on Science, Technology, and Politics and the ISA award for best book in Political Economy.

​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.
  • Michael R. Davidson, Valerie J. Karplus, Joanna I. Lewis, Jonas Nahm, Alex Wang, 2022. Risks of decoupling from China on low-carbon technologies. Science 377 (6611): 1266-1269.

  • Jonas Nahm, 2022. “Green Growth Models.” In Lucio Baccaro, Mark Blyth, and Jonas Pontusson. Diminishing Returns: The New Politics of Growth and Stagnation. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Jonas Nahm, Scot Miller, and Johannes Urpelainen. 2022. G20’s US$14-trillion economic stimulus reneges on emissions pledges. Nature 603, 28-32.

  • Jonas Nahm and Johannes Urpelainen.2021. The Enemy Within? Green Industrial Policy and Stranded Assets in China’s Power Sector. Global Environmental Politics 21 (4), 88-109.

  • 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.



  • China
  • European Union
  • United States


  • Economic Policy
  • Industrial Policy
  • Climate Change
  • Supply Chains
  • Political Economy
  • Comparative Politics


  • German
  • Mandarin Chinese

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