Search People Result

Who are the most influential people in world?

Identify leaders in your chosen discipline, research top professors in your area of study, and search for schools based on the luminaries who most inspire you!

Note: These rankings dynamically change as our AI learns new things and new publications and citations are made. Academics are actively researching and publishing new insights, leaving our measure of more recent influence subject to continual adjustments. While we delay real-time changes for quality assurance reasons, be not surprised as you see our rankings change over time.

How we measure influence…

Gender designations here are based off data sourced from Wikidata.

About our data on gender

List of the most influential people in Political Science, for the years 2000 – 2020

Noam Chomsky
# 1
Noam Chomsky

1928 - Present (92 years)

#40 person's overall influence

Noam Chomsky currently holds joint appointments at MIT as Institute Professor Emeritus, and the University of Arizona as Laureate Professor. Chomsky completed his university studies between the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard.

Donald Green
# 2
Donald Green

1961 - Present (59 years)

#12985 person's overall influence

Donald Green is a political scientist at Columbia University who studies public opinion and political behavior. He earned a B.A. in political science and history at the University of California at Los Angeles, and an M.A. and Ph.D in political science at the University of California at Berkeley. He uses quantitative research methods, especially field experiments, to study voting, political party affiliation, campaign finance, prejudice, and mass media.

# 3
Glenn D. Paige

1929 - 2017 (88 years)

#42032 person's overall influence

Glenn Durland Paige was an American political scientist. He was Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Hawai‘i and Chair of the Governing Council of the Center for Global Nonkilling. Paige is known for developing the concept of nonkilling, his studies on political leadership, and the study of international politics from the decision-making perspective with a case study of President Harry S. Truman's decision to involve the United States in the Korean War.

John Mearsheimer
# 4
John Mearsheimer

1947 - Present (73 years)

#4789 person's overall influence

John Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. He served for five years as an officer of the U.S. Air Force after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point. While serving, he graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in International Relations. He went on to earn a Ph.D in government from Cornell University.

Norman Finkelstein
# 5
Norman Finkelstein

1953 - Present (67 years)

#4796 person's overall influence

Norman Gary Finkelstein is an activist, author, professor and political science, specializing in the study of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Holocaust. He earned a B.A. at Binghamton University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University. Both of Finkelstein’s parents survived the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust, as well as a series of concentration and labor camps.

Jean Blondel
# 6
Jean Blondel

1929 - Present (91 years)

#12788 person's overall influence

Jean Blondel is Emeritus Professor at the European University Institute and visiting professor for the University of Siena. He has studied at the Institut d’Études Politiques of Paris and earned a B.Litt. from St. Antony’s College at Oxford. After his military service in France, he went on to study at Yale as an ACLS fellow.

Francis Fukuyama
# 7
Francis Fukuyama

1952 - Present (68 years)

#1143 person's overall influence

Francis Fukuyama is director of Stanford University’s Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy and Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, as well as a senior fellow for the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Fukuyama earned a B.A. in classics from Cornell University and a Ph.D in political science from Harvard University. He has been involved with the Telluride Association, a high school outreach program, since he was an undergrad at Cornell University.

Samantha Power
# 8
Samantha Power

1970 - Present (50 years)

#7837 person's overall influence

Samantha Power is director of the new International Peace and Security Project at Harvard Kennedy School, member of the Board of Directors at the International Refugee Assistance Project, and joint faculty for Harvard’s Law School and Kennedy School. She earned a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard University. It is hard to overstate Samantha Power’s influence on global affairs.

Bernard Grofman
# 9
Bernard Grofman

1944 - Present (76 years)

#14438 person's overall influence

Bernard Norman Grofman is the Jack W. Peltason Endowed Chair Distinguished Professor of Political Science and adjunct professor of economics for the University of California, Irvine. He earned a B.S. in mathematics, an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.

# 10
Anthony Downs

1930 - Present (90 years)

#8295 person's overall influence

Anthony Downs is an American economist specializing in public policy and public administration. He has been a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., since 1977.

Alina Mungiu-Pippidi
# 11
Alina Mungiu-Pippidi

1964 - Present (56 years)

#28866 person's overall influence

Charles Tilly
# 12
Charles Tilly

1929 - 2008 (79 years)

#3095 person's overall influence

Charles Tilly was an American sociologist, political scientist, and historian who wrote on the relationship between politics and society. He was a professor of history, sociology, and social science at the University of Michigan from 1969 to 1984 before becoming the Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science at Columbia University.

# 13
Sidney Verba

1932 - 2019 (87 years)

#7747 person's overall influence

Sidney Verba was an American political scientist, librarian and library administrator. His academic interests were mainly American and comparative politics. He was the Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor at Harvard University and also served Harvard as the director of the Harvard University Library from 1984 to 2007.

Michael Keating
# 14
Michael Keating

1950 - Present (70 years)

#101673 person's overall influence

Michael Keating is a political scientist specialising in nationalism, European politics, regional politics and devolution. He is Professor of Scottish Politics at the University of Aberdeen. He is the Director of the Centre on Constitutional Change..

Stephen Walt
# 15
Stephen Walt

1955 - Present (65 years)

#7592 person's overall influence

# 16
Peter Mair

1951 - 2011 (60 years)

#85658 person's overall influence

Peter Mair was an Irish political scientist. He was professor of Comparative Politics at the European University Institute in Florence.

Liu Xiaobo
# 17
Liu Xiaobo

1955 - 2017 (62 years)

#3646 person's overall influence

Liu Xiaobo was a Chinese writer, literary critic, human rights activist, philosopher and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who called for political reforms and was involved in campaigns to end communist one-party rule in China. He was incarcerated as a political prisoner in Jinzhou, Liaoning. On 26 June 2017, he was granted medical parole after being diagnosed with liver cancer, and subsequently died on 13 July 2017.

Raif Badawi
# 18
Raif Badawi

1984 - Present (36 years)

#27151 person's overall influence

Raif bin Muhammad Badawi is a Saudi writer, dissident and activist, as well as the creator of the website Free Saudi Liberals.

Cass Sunstein
# 19
Cass Sunstein

1954 - Present (66 years)

#1219 person's overall influence

Cass Sunstein is Harvard Law School’s Robert Walmsley University Professor. He earned his B.A. and J.D. from Harvard University and is a scholar of constitutional law and behavioral economics.

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch
# 20
Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

1971 - Present (49 years)

#14503 person's overall influence

Christopher Hitchens
# 21
Christopher Hitchens

1949 - 2011 (62 years)

#554 person's overall influence

Christopher Eric Hitchens was an English intellectual, polemicist, and socio-political critic who expressed himself as an author, orator, essayist, journalist, and columnist. Hitchens was the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of over 30 books, including five collections of essays on culture, politics, and literature.

Gilford John Ikenberry
# 22
Gilford John Ikenberry

1954 - Present (66 years)

#30548 person's overall influence

Gilford John Ikenberry is a theorist of international relations and United States foreign policy, and the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Rogers Smith
# 23
Rogers Smith

1953 - Present (67 years)

#34569 person's overall influence

Harvey Mansfield
# 24
Harvey Mansfield

1932 - Present (88 years)

#7815 person's overall influence

Harvey Claflin Mansfield Jr. is an American political philosopher. He is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1962. He has held Guggenheim and NEH Fellowships and has been a Fellow at the National Humanities Center; he also received the National Humanities Medal in 2004 and delivered the Jefferson Lecture in 2007. He is a Carol G. Simon Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. He is notable for his generally conservative stance on political issues in his writings.

Samuel P. Huntington
# 25
Samuel P. Huntington

1927 - 2008 (81 years)

#915 person's overall influence

Samuel Phillips Huntington was an American political scientist, adviser and academic. He spent more than half a century at Harvard University, where he was director of Harvard's Center for International Affairs and the Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor.

Charles Taylor
# 26
Charles Taylor

1931 - Present (89 years)

#1197 person's overall influence

Charles Taylor is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at McGill University, Canada. He is known best for his contributions to political philosophy, the philosophy of social science, and the philosophy of history and intellectual history. Taylor received a bachelor’s degree in History from McGill in 1953. As a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, Taylor took a first-class bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) from Oxford in 1961. Notably, his supervisor was Isaiah Berlin, the renowned British social and political theorist.

Alexander J. Motyl
# 27
Alexander J. Motyl

1953 - Present (67 years)

#37487 person's overall influence

Alexander J. Motyl is a recognized expert on Russia, Ukraine and the Soviet Union, as well as a professor of political science for Rutgers University. He earned a B.A. in history, an M.Phil and a Ph.D in political science from Columbia University. In addition to his extensive work on Russia and Ukraine, he is also an accomplished fiction writer, artist, and poet.

Zbigniew Brzezinski
# 28
Zbigniew Brzezinski

1928 - 2017 (89 years)

#2329 person's overall influence

Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski was a Polish-American diplomat and political scientist. He served as a counselor to President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1966 to 1968 and was President Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor from 1977 to 1981. Brzezinski belonged to the realist school of international relations, standing in the geopolitical tradition of Halford Mackinder and Nicholas J. Spykman. Brzezinski was the primary organizer of The Trilateral Commission.

Robert D. Putnam
# 29
Robert D. Putnam

1941 - Present (79 years)

#4624 person's overall influence

Robert David Putnam is an American political scientist. He is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. Putnam developed the influential two-level game theory that assumes international agreements will only be successfully brokered if they also result in domestic benefits. His most famous work, Bowling Alone, argues that the United States has undergone an unprecedented collapse in civic, social, associational, and political life since the 1960s, with serious negative consequences. In March 2015, he published a book

Andreas Umland
# 30
Andreas Umland

1967 - Present (53 years)

#79573 person's overall influence

Andreas Umland is a German political scientist, historian and Russian interpreter, specializing in contemporary Russian and Ukrainian history. He is a Member of the Institute for Central and East European Studies at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt in Upper Bavaria, a small, yet active research center. He lives in Kyiv, while teaching at the National University of "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy". His studies of Russian and Ukrainian politics focus on the post-Soviet extreme right. Since 2005, he has also been involved in the creation of a new Master's program in German and European Stud...

Fareed Zakaria
# 31
Fareed Zakaria

1964 - Present (56 years)

#3579 person's overall influence

Fareed Rafiq Zakaria is an Indian-American journalist, political scientist, and author. He is the host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS and writes a weekly paid column for The Washington Post. He has been a columnist for Newsweek, editor of Newsweek International, and an editor at large of Time.

William Wohlforth
# 32
William Wohlforth

1959 - Present (61 years)

#32421 person's overall influence

William Curti Wohlforth is the Daniel Webster Professor of Government in the Dartmouth College Department of Government, of which he was chair for three academic years . He is the author of Elusive Balance: Power and Perceptions during the Cold War and editor of Witnesses to the End of the Cold War and Cold War Endgame: Oral History, Analysis, and Debates . Wohlforth published a seminal article in 1999, challenging the common knowledge at the time that US supremacy following the end of the Cold War is expected to be short-lived. He is linked to the Neoclassical realism-school and known fo

# 33
Philip Converse

1928 - 2014 (86 years)

#19936 person's overall influence

Philip Ernest Converse was an American political scientist. He was a professor in political science and sociology at the University of Michigan who was a seminal figure in the field of public opinion, survey research, and quantitative social science. He has been described as "one of the most important social scientists of the 20th century."

Hina Jilani
# 34
Hina Jilani

1953 - Present (67 years)

#15488 person's overall influence

Hina Jilani , is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and a human-rightss activist from Lahore in Punjab, Pakistan.

James C. Scott
# 35
James C. Scott

1936 - Present (84 years)

#4964 person's overall influence

James C. Scott is a political scientist and comparative scholar of anthropology, and the Sterling Professor of Political Science and Director of the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale University. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Yale.

S. Laurel Weldon
# 36
S. Laurel Weldon
#28446 person's overall influence

S. Laurel Weldon is Director of the Purdue Policy Research Institution, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Simon Fraser University, and a well-known democratic and feminist theorist. She earned a B.A. in political science and sociology, with a minor in philosophy, from Simon Fraser University, an M.A. in political science at the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pittsburgh.

Johan Galtung
# 37
Johan Galtung

1930 - Present (90 years)

#1633 person's overall influence

Johan Galtung is a principal founder of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, as well as a pioneering thought leader and scholar in the area of peace and conflict studies. He earned two Ph.Ds - a cand. real. in mathematics and a mag. art. in sociology - from the University of Oslo. Galtung is widely known for his scholarship in sociology, microhistory, anthropology, political science, economics, and history, and most notably, for his work in peace and conflict studies.

Ivor Crewe
# 38
Ivor Crewe

1945 - Present (75 years)

#14984 person's overall influence

Sir Ivor Martin Crewe, DL FAcSS was until 2020 the Master of University College, Oxford and President of the Academy of Social Sciences. He was previously Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex and also a Professor in the Department of Government at Essex.

# 39
Marian Sawer

1946 - Present (74 years)

#95045 person's overall influence

Philippa Marian Sawer is an Australian political scientist. She is a professor emeritus at the Australian National University .

# 40
Jean L. Cohen

1946 - Present (74 years)

#87754 person's overall influence

Jean Louise Cohen is the Nell and Herbert Singer Professor of Political Thought at Columbia University. She specializes in contemporary political and legal theory with particular research interests in democratic theory, critical theory, Civil society, gender and the law.

# 41
Jeffrey Herbst

1961 - Present (59 years)

#47833 person's overall influence

Jeffrey I. Herbst is an American political scientist, and in July, 2018 became the President of the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California. Herbst was previously the former 16th President of Colgate University, and President and CEO of the Newseum in Washington, D.C. He resigned from his post at the Newseum in 2017 as the museum announced financial issues. Prior to assuming the presidency of Colgate in 2010, he was Provost, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, and professor of political science at Miami University. He received his B.A. from Princeton University in 19

Bjørn Lomborg
# 42
Bjørn Lomborg

1965 - Present (55 years)

#12708 person's overall influence

Bjørn Lomborg is a Danish author and President of his think tank, Copenhagen Consensus Center. He is former director of the Danish government's Environmental Assessment Institute in Copenhagen. He became internationally known for his best-selling and controversial book, The Skeptical Environmentalist , in which he argues that many of the costly measures and actions adopted by scientists and policy makers to meet the challenges of global warming will ultimately have minimal impact on the world's rising temperature.

# 43
Liesbet Hooghe

1962 - Present (58 years)

#53789 person's overall influence

Liesbet Hooghe is a political scientist, currently serving as the W. R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a research fellow at the European University Institute, Florence. Liesbet Hooghe is the spouse of Gary Marks. In a list of 400 top political scientists at Ph.D. granting institutions in the US, published in Political Science & Politics , she was ranked as the fifth most-cited woman scholar in political science.

Andrew Gelman
# 44
Andrew Gelman

1965 - Present (55 years)

#18542 person's overall influence

Andrew Gelman is the director of Columbia University’s Applied Statistics Center and the Higgins Professor of statistics and political science. He earned an S.B. in mathematics and an S.B. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.A. and a Ph.D in statistics from Harvard University. He has collaborated with colleagues to create a number of software programs to assist with statistical analysis, including Stan: A C++ and R/Python package for Bayesian sampling and Judgeit: A program for evaluating electoral systems and redistricting plans, for which he won the American P

Robert Keohane
# 45
Robert Keohane

1941 - Present (79 years)

#19389 person's overall influence

Robert Owen Keohane is professor of political science at the Woodrow Wilson School for Princeton University. He earned a B.A. from Shimer College and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He held a Guggenheim fellowship and fellowships with the National Humanities Center and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

# 46
Arend Lijphart

1936 - Present (84 years)

#63407 person's overall influence

Arend d'Angremond Lijphart is a political scientist specializing in comparative politics, elections and voting systems, democratic institutionss, and ethnicity and politics. He received his PhD in Political Science at Yale University in 1963, after studying at Principia College from 1955 to 1958. He is currently Research Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. Dutch by birth, he has spent most of his working life in the United States and became an American citizen. He has since regained his Dutch citizenship and is now a dual citizen of both the Net...

Samar Badawi
# 47
Samar Badawi

1981 - Present (39 years)

#275963 person's overall influence

Samar bint Muhammad Badawi is a Saudi Arabian human rights activist. She and her father filed court cases against each other. Badawi's father accused her of disobedience under the Saudi Arabian male guardianship system and she charged her father with adhl—"making it hard or impossible for a person, especially a woman, to have what she wants, or what's rightfully hers; e.g, her right to marry" according to Islamic jurisprudence—for refusing to allow her to marry. After Badawi missed several trial dates relating to the charge, an arrest warrant was issued for her, and Badawi was imprisoned on 4

# 48
Ian Lustick

1949 - Present (71 years)

#14423 person's overall influence

Ian Steven Lustick is an American political scientist and specialist on the modern history and politics of the Middle East. He currently holds the Bess W. Heyman Chair in the department of Political Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.

# 49
Arthur Lupia

1964 - Present (56 years)

#115129 person's overall influence

Arthur Lupia is an American political scientist. He is the Hal R. Varian Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan and Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation. Prior to joining NSF, he was Chairperson of the Board of the Center for Open Science and Chair of National Research Council's Roundtable on the Application of Behavioral and Social Science. His research how information and institutions affect policy and politics, with a focus on how people make decisions when they lack information. He draws from multiple scientific and philosophical disciplines and uses

Theda Skocpol
# 50
Theda Skocpol

1947 - Present (73 years)

#6663 person's overall influence

Theda Skocpol is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University. She earned a B.A. from Michigan State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D at Harvard University. She went on to become the first female sociologist to achieve tenure at Harvard University.