Dr Bogdan Popescu

Subject: Politics

Department: Politics

Academic position: Special Lecturer in Politics


I am a Departmental Lecturer at the University of Oxford in the Department of Politics and IR in association with Magdalen and Nuffield Colleges. Previously, I was a postdoctoral researcher at Bocconi and Princeton. I received my PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago.

I study comparative politics and historical political economy using novel data from historical sources. My book – Imperial Borderlands: Institutions and Legacies of the Habsburg Military Frontier (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press) draws on political science, economics and history to examine key questions related to state formation, extractive institutions, and the modern-day impact of colonial legacies. I argue that the effect of extractive institutions depends on the removal of property rights, use of violence, and investment in local infrastructure. To illustrate such effects, I focus on military colonialism in the Habsburg Empire, a state that governed over vast territories of Central and Eastern Europe. I show that military colonialism, as an example of an extractive institution displaying low historical state investment in infrastructure, high transformation of local society, and low coercion, contributed extensively to low provision of public goods today.

My research was published in the Quarterly Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Comparative Political Studies. My other projects examine how states adopt institutions in order to ensure their survival and the consequences of their actions. You can find my CV and copies of my papers on my personal website: https://bgpopescu.wordpress.com


Imperial Borderlands: Institutions and Legacies of the Habsburg Military Frontier. Forthcoming with Cambridge University Press

Peer-Reviewed Publications:

Bogdan G. Popescu and Mircea Popa. 2022. “Imperial Rule and Long-run Development: Evidence on the Role of Human Capital in the Ottoman Europe.” Comparative Political Studies.

Maura Cremin and Bogdan G. Popescu. 2021. “Sticks and Stones? Connecting Insurgent Propaganda with Violent Outcomes,” Journal of Conflict Resolution. Vol. 66: No. 3, pp 504-528.

Mike Albertus and Bogdan G. Popescu, 2020. “Does Equalizing Assets Spur Development? Evidence From Large-Scale Land Reform in Peru,” Quarterly Journal of Political Science. Vol. 15: No. 2, pp 255-295.