Kent Weaver


Distinguished Professor
Professor of Public Policy and Government


McCourt School of Public Policy
General profile



+1 202-687-5953



Kent Weaver joined the McCourt School of Public Policy as Professor of Public Policy in the Fall of 2002, after 19 years at the Brookings Institution. Before coming to Brookings, Weaver taught in the Political Science Department at the Ohio State University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University.

Weaver's major fields of interest are American and comparative social policy, comparative political institutions, and the policy implementation. He is particularly interested in understanding how political institutions, feedbacks from past policy choices and the motivations of politicians interact to shape public policy choices. Much of his work has attempted to understand when and why politicians undertake actions that appear to offer more political risks than rewards. Weaver is the author of Ending Welfare As We Know It (Brookings, 2000), Automatic Government: The Politics of Indexation (Brookings, 1988) and The Politics of Industrial Change (Brookings, 1985) as well as many authors in political science and public management journals. He is also the co-author and editor of The Collapse of Canada? (Brookings, 1992) and co-editor of and contributor to numerous books including Do Institutions Matter?: Government Capabilities in the U.S. and Abroad (Brookings, 1993), Think Tanks and Civil Societies (TransAction Publishers, 2000), and The Government Taketh Away: The Politics of Pain in the United States and Canada (Georgetown University Press, 2003). He is currently completing a book on what the United States can learn from the experiences of other advanced industrial countries in reforming their public pension systems.

Professor Weaver teaches a core course at the McCourt School on the Comparative Policy Process, as well as courses on policy implementation, behavior change, and the welfare state.


  • Ph.D. (1982) Harvard University, Political Science