Articles and Essays

Explaining the Economic Trajectories of Civilizations: The Systemic Approach.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 71 (2009): 593-605.

"Social Mechanisms of Dissonance Reduction," in Peter Hedström and Richard Swedberg (eds.), Social Mechanisms: An Analytical Approach to Social Theory (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998): 147-71.

"The Vulnerability of the Arab state: Reflections on the Ayubi Thesis," Independent Review, 3 (Summer 1998): 111-23.

"The Inevitability of Future Revolutionary Surprises ," American Journal of Sociology, 100 (May 1995): 1528-51. Abstract

"Seeds of Racial Explosion," Society, 30 (September/October 1993): 55-67.

  • Reprint in Current, no. 358, December 1993: 4-15.
  • Abridged reprint under the title "A Backlash against Affirmative Action is Growing among Whites," in Paul A. Winters (ed.), Race Relations: Opposing Viewpoints (San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996): 29-35.

"Now Out of Never: The Element of Surprise in the East European Revolution of 1989," World Politics, 44 (October 1991): 7-48. Abstract

  • Reprint in Nancy Bermeo (ed.), Liberalization and Democratization (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992): 7- 48. 
  • Abridged reprint in Essential Readings in Comparative Politics, 4th ed., edited by Patrick O'Neill and Ronald Rogowski (New York: W. W. Norton, 2012), in press.

"The East European Revolution of 1989: Is It Surprising that We Were Surprised?" American Economic Review, 81 (May 1991): 121-125. Abstract

  • Reprint in David Kennett and Mark Lieberman (eds.), The Road to Capitalism: Economic Transition in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992): 332-338. 
  • Reprint in The Economics of Defence, ed. Keith Hartley and Todd Sandler (Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edgar Elgar, 2000): forthcoming.

"Sparks and Prairie Fires: A Theory of Unanticipated Political Revolution ," Public Choice, 61 (April 1989): 41-74. Abstract

  • Reprint in Ulrich Witt (ed.), Evolutionary Economics (Aldershot: Edward Elgar, 1993): 273-306. 

Encyclopedia Articles

"Thomas Schelling," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd ed., ed. Steven Durlauf and Lawrence Blume (London: Macmillan, 2007): 299-302.

"Public Opinion, Microsociological Aspects," International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (Amsterdam: Pergamon, 2001), forthcoming.

Comments, replies, and edited works

"Why Revolutions Are Better Understood than Predicted: The Role of Preference Falsification" [Comment on an article by Nikki Keddie], Contention, 3 (Spring 1992): 199-207.

  • Reprint in Nikki R. Keddie (ed.), Debating Revolutions (New York: New York University Press, 1994): 27-35.


Interview with Denis Volkov, “An Atmosphere of Repression Leads to Preference Falsification among Opinion Leaders,” Institute of Modern Russia, 14 October 2015 (Online: in English and Russian).

Religious Freedom Project discussion on “The Economic and Political Effects of Restrictions on Religion” moderated by Daniel Philpott. Participants: Timur Kuran and Abdullah Saeed, December 15, 2014. 

Radio interview with Kai Ryssdal on Marketplace (March 4, 2011): "Historical Roots of Middle Eastern Uprisings."

Selected writings for the popular press

Op-ed: “You Can’t Keep a Lid on Discontent Forever.” Cato Unbound, March 16, 2016. 

Op-ed: “The Authenticity Deficit in Modern Politics.” Cato Unbound, March 7, 2016.

Op-ed: "Turkey's Electoral Dictatorship.” Project Syndicate, April 10, 2014.

Op-ed on Arab uprisings: "The Politics of Revolutionary Surprise," Project Syndicate, February 2, 2011. (available in seven languages)


"Institutions and Economic Performance: A Conversation between Douglass North and Timur Kuran" (41 minute educational video for the Idea Channel (now the Free to Choose Network, May 2000).


Jack A. Goldstone, Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), in Contemporary Sociology, 21 (January 1992): 8-10.

Tibor Scitovsky, Human Desire and Economic Satisfaction (New York: New York University Press, 1986), in Journal of Economic Literature, 25 (December 1987): 1852-54.

Reuven Brenner, Betting on Ideas: Wars, Invention, Inflation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), in Journal of Economic Literature, 24 (December 1986): 1802-04.

Jon Elster, Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983), in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 5 (September-December 1984): 401-03.

In Progress

(with Diego Romero) “The Logic of Revolutions: Rational Choice Perspectives” (April 2016, in progress).

A jubilant crowd pulls down a statue of Shah M. Pahlavi in Tehran, 1979.

The Berlin Wall falls in late 1989 after 28 years of separating the German people.

  • wall_background