William Howell

Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics


William Howell is the Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics at the University of Chicago, where he holds appointments in the Harris School, political science department, and College. Currently, he is the director of the Center for Effective Government and co-host of Not Another Politics Podcast.  William has written widely on separation-of-powers issues and American political institutions, especially the presidency. He currently is working on research projects on separation of powers issues, the origins of political authority, and the normative foundations of executive power.

William’s most recent book (with Terry Moe) is Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy (University of Chicago, 2020). He also is the author or co-author of numerous other books, including: Relic: How the Constitution Undermines Effective Government–And Why We Need a More Powerful Presidency (Basic Books, 2016); The Wartime President: Executive Influence and the Nationalizing Politics of Threat (University of Chicago Press, 2013); Thinking about the Presidency: The Primacy of Power (Princeton University Press, 2013); While Dangers Gather: Congressional Checks on Presidential War Powers (Princeton University Press, 2007); Power without Persuasion: The Politics of Direct Presidential Action (Princeton University Press, 2003); The Education Gap: Vouchers and Urban Schools(Brookings Institution Press, 2002); and textbooks on the American presidency and American Politics. His research also has appeared in numerous professional journals and edited volumes.

William is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 2023 Guggenheim Fellow, and a former fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He is the recipient, among other academic awards, of the Legacy Award for enduring research on executive politics, the William Riker award for the best book in political economy, the D.B. Hardeman Prize for the best book on Congress, the Richard Neustadt award for the best book on the American presidency, and the E.E. Schattschneider Award for the best dissertation in American Politics. His work has been supported by such foundations as the National Science Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Democracy Fund, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Bradley Foundation. He has written for a wide variety of media outlets, including the Boston ReviewProspect MagazineWall Street JournalForeign AffairsForeign Policy, and Education Next.

Before coming to the University of Chicago, William taught in the government department at Harvard University and the political science department at the University of Wisconsin. In 2000, he received a PhD in political science from Stanford University.