Frederick W. Mayer

Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver
Chapter Member: Colorado SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Frederick

Mayer's research and teaching focus on: (1) economic globalization, its implications for workers and the environment, and strategies for governance; (2) the politics of climate change at the global, national and local scales; and (3) the role of narratives in politics, particularly in collective action.


In the News

Opinion: "The Politics of NAFTA Have Been Driven More by Story than by Fact," Frederick W. Mayer, The Hill, August 18, 2017.
Quoted by Sean McElwee in "Moneyed Interests Are Blocking U.S. Action on Climate Change," Al Jazeera America, February 8, 2016.


"Narrative Politics: Stories and Collective Action" (Oxford University Press, 2014).
Draws on insights from neuroscience and behavioral economics, political science and sociology, history and cultural studies, and literature and narrative theory to shed light on a wide range of political phenomena from social movements to electoral politics to offer lessons for how the power of story fosters collective action.
"Stories of Climate Change: Competing Narratives, the Media, and U.S. Public Opinion, 2001-2010,"

Shorenstein Center Discussion Paper

, Harvard University, January 31, 2012.

Identifies six strikingly divergent narratives in American media coverage of climate change, and tracks how the major news outlets employed these story-lines differently. Suggests that to effect action on climate change, environmentalists need to win the story-telling challenge.

"Regulation and Economic Globalization: Prospects and Limits of Private Governance" (with Gary Gereffi). Business and Politics 12, no. 3 (2010): 1-25.
Assesses the history and efficacy of voluntary, non-governmental forms of “private governance” such as corporate codes of conduct, product certifications, and process standards in addressing labor and environmental issues in global value chains.
"Globalization and the Demand for Governance" (with Gary Gereffi), in The New Offshoring of Jobs and Global Development, edited by Gary Gereffi (International Labor Organization, 2006).
Argues that globalization has created a deficit of governance, which in turn has created a demand for new forms of governance, including corporate social responsibility, new roles for civil society, stronger international institutions, and stronger national governments in developing countries.
"Interpreting NAFTA: The Science and Art of Political Analysis" (Columbia University Press, 1998).
Provides an account of the history and politics of NAFTA and a framework for analyzing politics and informing strategy that draws on extensive interviews as well as Mayer’s personal experiences while an aide to then Senator Bill Bradley.
"Managing Domestic Differences in International Negotiations: The Strategic Use of Internal Side-Payments" International Organization 46, no. 4 (1992): 793-818.
Provides an analytical framework for thinking about the relationship between domestic politics and international relations – one of the first articles on “two-level games.”