Tim Büthe is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Duke University, as well as a Senior Fellow of the Duke Rethinking Regulation Project at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.
His teaching and research focuses on the role of institutions in the international and comparative political economy. He’s interested, above all, in how institutions enable and constrain actors, how domestic and international institutions interact, and why institutions change or persist. Most of his research focuses on regulatory politics in the global economy. His other work focuses on business partisanship, foreign direct investment by multinational corporations, and the allocation of foreign aid by humanitarian and development NGOs.
Hs research on business partisanship demonstrates that business firms have partisan political preferences (not just preferences over specific policies) and examines how domestic political-economic institutions condition the effect of economic globalization on business partisanship. His work on the institutional development of competition policy seeks to explain how the EU Commission's Directorate General for Competition became one of the most powerful regulatory agencies in the global economy, even though the most powerful EU member states wanted only weak (if any) supranational antitrust enforcement and were explicitly opposed to the supranational regulation of mergers. An extension of this work examines the role of antitrust enforcement and merger regulation (laws and practices) in the global trade regime. His research on FDI analyzes how formal institutions (bilateral investment treaties and international trade agreements) constrain governments and facilitate the flow of foreign direct investment into developing countries. His research on private foreign aid, beyond its intrinsic importance, focuses on the informal institutions of humanitarian and development NGOs to advance our understanding of how and why outcomes differ when decision-making over a traditional foreign policy issue is delegated to non-governmental (private) organizations.
His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, International Organization, World Politics, Law & Contemporary Problems, Governance, and other journals, as well as numerous edited volumes. He serves on the faculty advisory board of the Rethinking Regulation Project at Duke's Kenan Institute for Ethics. From August 2007 through July 2009, he was a Research Fellow in the Robert-Wood-Johnson Foundation's Scholars in Health Policy Research Program at the University of California, Berkeley/UCSF.