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Listen or download interview (mp3, 58 minutes, 54MB)
As an undergrad at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenneth Shepsle was initially on track to major in mathematics. When he was unable to register for a particular course, his advisor suggested something “easy” instead of political science. Shepsle, a native of Washington, DC, grew up watching local newscasters such as Roger Mudd and Walter Cronkite and reading The Washington Post. This undergraduate course sparked his natural interest in political science, and he ultimately obtained a BA in both majors in 1966. He continued his studies at the University of Rochester, where he received a PhD in political science in 1970.
Shepsle later authored (and co-authored) more than a dozen books on topics including congressional procedures, political economy, and electoral competition. He was a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution, a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and a Guggenheim Fellow. In 1990 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His current research uses quantitative tools, including game theory, to analyze political institutions and intergenerational politics.
Last Updated: 06-01-2010
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The audio files linked above are part of the National Academy of Sciences InterViews series. Opinions and statements included in these audio files are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academy of Sciences.