COVID-19 Update

Johns Hopkins SAIS is actively monitoring the global COVID-19 outbreak, with particular focus on the health and well-being of the university community. CLICK HERE for additional resources and virtual events.

Skip navigation

Jonas Nahm

Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment


Jonas Nahm is Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Jonas' research interests focus on the intersection of economic and industrial policy, energy policy, and environmental politics. In particular, he studies the role of the state in processes of industrial restructuring that accompany responses to climate change and clean energy transitions more broadly. His 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.

His book manuscript, “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 book 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 Jonas shows 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.

In addition to his work on renewable energy industries, Jonas has ongoing research projects on the politics of greening the global auto sector and the subnational determinants of climate policies. 

His 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. He was an MIT Energy Fellow and a Fellow of the German National Academic Foundation.

Prior to coming to Johns Hopkins SAIS, Jonas was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. He holds a PhD in Political Science from MIT and speaks German and Mandarin Chinese.

Nahm, J & Helveston, J (2019) China’s key role in scaling low-carbon energy technologies. Science 366 (6467): 794-796.

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

Nahm, J., & Meckling, J. (2019). The Politics of Technology Bans: Industrial Policy Competition and Green Goals for the Global Auto Industry. Energy Policy 126: 470-479

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

Nahm, J., & Meckling, J. (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​.

Nahm, J. (2017). Renewable Futures and Industrial Legacies: Wind and Solar Sectors in China, Germany, and the United States. Business and Politics 19(1): 68-106. 

Nahm, J. (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​

Nahm, J., & Kostka, G. (2017). Central–Local Relations: Recentralization and Environmental Governance in China. The China Quarterly 231:567-582. 

Nahm, J., & Steinfeld, E. S. (2014). Scale-Up Nation: China’s Specialization in Innovative Manufacturing.World Development 54: 288-300.

Nahm, J., & Steinfeld, E. S. (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

Professors Jonas Nahm and Johannes Urpelainen awarded COVID-19 Launchpad Grant

Professors Jonas Nahm and Johannes Urpelainen have been awarded a COVID-19 Launchpad Grant by Johns Hopkins University.

The new U.S. trade deal is climate sabotage.

Jonas Nahm quoted in The New Republic, 1/17

Trade dispute with China could slow transition to low-carbon power.

Jonas Nahm interviewed on Climate Cast podcast, 11/21

China's key role in scaling low-carbon energy technologies.

Jonas Nahm wrote in Science Magazine, 11/15

The Democrats’ climate-change plans, compared.

Jonas Nahm cited in MIT Technology Review, 6/5

Professor Jonas Nahm named National Committee on U.S.-China Relations PIP fellow

Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment Jonas Nahm has been appointed to the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program (PIP).

Professor Jonas Nahm Wins 2017 Gordon White Prize

Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment Jonas Nahm has been awarded the prestigious 2017 Gordon White Prize in recognition of his article published in The China Quarterly.