Rachel Epstein

Professor; Senior Associate Dean for Rese

  • Faculty

What I do

I am a Professor of International Relations and European Politics at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. In addition, I am the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs and an affiliated faculty member with the Sie Cheou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy.


economy, security, international organizations

Professional Biography

I earned my MA and PhD from Cornell University's Department of Government and my AB from Stanford University in International Relations. My research and teaching have focused on international political economy, international security, and the role of international organizations in eliciting compliance from target states and states-in-transition. I have published widely on subjects concerning European Union enlargement, the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the developmental prospects of post-communist countries and the politics of finance, financial crisis and foreign bank ownership. I have held two post-doctoral fellowships at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy and was also an Advanced Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Freie Universitaet in Berlin in 2016. Currently I am a co-editor at the Review of International Political Economy and an executive member of the European Union Studies Association charged with planning the Association's 2019 biennial meeting.


  • Ph.D., Government, Cornell University, 2001
  • MA, Government, Cornell University, 1999
  • AB, International Relations, Stanford University, 1992

Professional Affiliations

  • American Political Science Association
  • European Union Studies Association
  • International Studies Association
  • Associatiation for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies


My most recent work focuses on Europe's long financial crisis, starting with the US economic meltdown in 2008, continuing through Eurozone instability of 2011 and 2012, and with ongoing reverberations in politics and economics in 2018. My most recent book, Banking on Markets (Oxford University Press 2017) explains why the crisis has been so long and severe through an examination of the very close political ties between many Eurozone governments and their domestically-owned or managed banks. Some of these findings were also published in a special issue of the Review of International Political Economy of which I was a guest editor in 2014. That volume was called "Assets or Liabilities?" referring to both the advantages and risks of political influence over and government enmeshment with finance.
My earlier research dealt with the role of international organizations in the post-communist transition of East Central Europe. I found that the EU, the IMF, the World Bank and NATO often had more difficulty securing compliance with their liberal policy prescriptions than was commonly understood or reported. I also found that eliciting compliance from target states depended on effective socialization rather than exclusively on the provision of incentives. That project culminated in my book "In Pursuit of Liberalism" (Johns Hopkins 2008) in addition to a number of research articles and special issues of journals.

Areas of Research

international security
international political economy
international organizations
foreign bank ownership
financial crisis
the European Union
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
the Transatlantic relationship
civil action.

Key Projects

  • Does Foreign Ownership Matter? Assessing the Effects of Internationalized Bank Ownership in the European Union
  • Global Security for the 21st Century: Mitigating Violence and Fostering Resilience
  • Getting to Know Europe in the US Mountain West

Featured Publications

Epstein, Rachel. Banking On Markets: The Transformation Of Bank-State Ties In Europe And Beyond, Paperback Edition. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 2019. 215 pages.
“Assets Or Liabilities? Banks And The Politics Of Foreign Ownership Versus National Control ” in A Special Issue Of The Review Of International Political Economy. Edited by Rachel Epstein. Vol. 21 London/Routledge, United Kingdom: Review of International Political Economy. 2014. 765-1005.
“Eastern Enlargement Ten Years On: Transcending The East-West Divide?” in This Is The Title Of The Special Issue. Edited by Rachel Epstein and Wade Jacoby. Vol. 52 Journal of Common Market Studies. 2014. 1-174.


  • Ed A. Hewett Book Award, Associatation for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies and the University of Michigan