Larry Diamond

Senior Fellow
Awards and Honors:
Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award
Richard W. Lyman Award
Kenneth M. Cuthbertson Award

Larry Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University. He also chairs the Hoover Institution Project on Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Region and is the principal investigator of the Global Digital Policy Incubator, part of Stanford’s Cyber Policy Center. For more than six years, he directed FSI’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, where he now leads its Program on Arab Reform and Democracy. During 2017–18, he cochaired, with Orville Schell, a working group formed of researchers from Hoover and from the Asia Society Center on US-China Relations, culminating in the report China’s Influence and American Interests: Promoting Constructing Vigilance (published by the Hoover Institution Press in 2019). He is the founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy and also serves as senior consultant at the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy.

Diamond’s research focuses on democratic trends and conditions around the world and on policies and reforms to defend and advance democracy. He is currently writing and speaking about the deepening recession of freedom and democracy in the world in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how to reverse it. He also leads a continuing Hoover project to track China’s “sharp power” projection around the world.  His latest book, Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency, analyzes the challenges confronting liberal democracy in the United States and around the world at this potential “hinge in history,” and offers an agenda for strengthening and defending democracy at home and abroad. A paperback edition of the book with a new preface was released by Penguin in April 2020. 

Diamond is professor by courtesy of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford University, where he teaches courses on democracy and American foreign policy. He is currently offering Comparative Democratic Development as a massive open online course (MOOC) on the edX platform.  And he is working on a textbook that will eventually accompany the course.

During 2002–03, Diamond served as a consultant to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and was a contributing author of its report Foreign Aid in the National Interest. He has also advised and lectured to universities and think tanks around the world, and to the World Bank, the United Nations, the State Department, and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies dealing with governance and development. During the first three months of 2004, Diamond served as a senior adviser on governance to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. His 2005 book, Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq, was one of the first books to critically analyze America's postwar engagement in Iraq.

Diamond’s other books include In Search of Democracy (2016), The Spirit of Democracy (2008), Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation (1999), Promoting Democracy in the 1990s (1995), and Class, Ethnicity, and Democracy in Nigeria (1989). He has also edited or coedited some fifty books on democratic development around the world. Among them are Democracy in Decline? (2016); Democratization and Authoritarianism in the Arab World (2014); Will China Democratize? (2013); and Liberation Technology: Social Media and the Struggle for Democracy (2012), all edited with Marc F. Plattner; and Politics and Culture in Contemporary Iran (2015), with Abbas Milani. With Juan J. Linz and Seymour Martin Lipset he edited the four-volume series Democracy in Developing Countries (1988–89), which helped to shape a new generation of comparative study of democratic development.

Diamond writes a monthly column for the American Interest and frequently writes, speaks, and consults about how to defend and reform liberal democracy. He is a prominent advocate of reforms—particularly vote by mail and ranked-choice voting—to strengthen American democracy.

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Recent Commentary


Larry Diamond: Authoritarians Or Democrats: Who Is Better Prepared To Cope With COVID-19 And What Lies Beyond?

interview with Larry Diamondvia Carnegie Endowment
Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Larry Diamond discusses whether authoritarian states are inherently better suited to deal with the pandemic; what is at stake for democratic states as they attempt to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus; what are the lasting implications for governments in a post-pandemic world; and are we witnessing a series of transformative events that will fundamentally alter governments’ relations with their publics?

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Counting On Coronavirus Luck Is Not A Fall Election Strategy. Best Bet Is Vote By Mail.

by Valentin Bolotnyy, Larry Diamondvia USA Today
Monday, May 4, 2020

Vote by mail is not a partisan plot, it's critical infrastructure to assure a safe election in a pandemic. Now is the time to invest and prepare.

In the News

COVID-19 Accelerating ‘Democratic Recession,’ Warns Larry Diamond

featuring Larry Diamondvia Stanford Daily
Thursday, April 30, 2020

Diamond also calls for U.S. November vote-by-mail at Hoover talk.


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Larry Diamond: COVID-19 And Democracy Around The World | Hoover Virtual Policy Briefing

interview with Larry Diamondvia Hoover Podcasts
Thursday, April 30, 2020

Hoover Institution Fellow Larry Diamond discusses COVID-19 And Democracy Around The World.

Larry Diamond: COVID-19 and Democracy Around the World

interview with Larry Diamondvia Hoover Virtual Policy Briefings
Thursday, April 30, 2020

A Hoover Virtual Policy Briefing with Larry Diamond: COVID-19 and Democracy Around the World   
Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 11AM PT/ 2PM ET.

Dynamics of Democracy in Taiwan: The Ma Ying-jeou Years

via Lynne Rienner Publishers
Monday, April 27, 2020

During the Ma Ying-jeou presidency in Taiwan (2008–2016), confrontations over relations with mainland China stressed the country’s institutions, leading to a political crisis. Nevertheless, its democracy proved to be resilient. The authors of Dynamics of Democracy in Taiwan explore key aspects of the complicated Ma era, including party politics and elections, the sources of Ma's governance challenges, changing public opinion, protest movements, and shifts in the regional balance of power.


Larry Diamond On America's COVID-19 Disaster

interview with Larry Diamondvia WAMC Northeast Public Radio
Friday, April 24, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Larry Diamond discusses why America’s COVID-19 disaster is a setback for democracy. In dealing with the crisis, Diamond says China was able to implement drastic measures to get its house in order while democracies around the world are floundering.


Larry Diamond On The John Batchelor Show

interview with Larry Diamondvia The John Batchelor Show
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Larry Diamond discusses his Atlantic article "America’s COVID-19 Disaster Is a Setback for Democracy."


Larry Diamond On The John Batchelor Show

interview with Larry Diamondvia The John Batchelor Show
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Larry Diamond discusses his Atlantic article "America’s COVID-19 Disaster Is a Setback for Democracy."

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Honor the World’s Hopes

by Larry Diamondvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 20, 2020

Why support the world’s freedom-seeking people? For reasons both moral and practical.