Brendan McElroy

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, UTSG
Affiliated Faculty, Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies
Room 204N

Trinity College
1 Devonshire Place 
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3K7 Canada

Brendan McElroy

Areas of interest

  • State formation
  • Political economy of development
  • Representative institutions under autocracy
  • Russian politics
  • Central and East European politics



Brendan McElroy is Assistant Professor (Tenure Stream) of Political Science at the University of Toronto. His research explores the complementary processes of state formation and elite transformation in early modern Europe, with particular emphasis on the genesis of representative and corporative institutions, their evolution, and their long-term consequences for state building and economic development. He is currently preparing a book manuscript under the provisional title Peasants and Parliaments: Agrarian Reform in Later Eighteenth Century Europe. This book project examines the politics of agrarian reform – here meaning state intervention in the relationship between manorial lords and their subject farmers – in Central and Eastern Europe during the late eighteenth century, seeking to explain why some states were so much more successful than others in enlisting the support of established elites and corporate groups for agricultural "modernization" and other development goals. The book's findings, based on archival research carried out in four countries, challenge prevailing theories of European state formation and the relationship of representative institutions to development.

Before joining the Department of Political Science, Brendan was a Postdoctoral Fellow (2020–22) at the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Select publications

  • "Capitalism and Democracy, Revisited" (editor's introduction), in Democracy and Autocracy 20.3 (2022), pp. 2–4.
  • Review of Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty, in Governance 34.2 (2021), pp. 592–594.

Awards & recognition

  • Walter Dean Burnham Prize for Best Dissertation, American Political Science Association, Politics and History Section, 2021