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Monica Prasad

Professor of Sociology and Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors Professor

PhD, Sociology, University of Chicago, 2000

Monica Prasad's areas of interest are economic sociology, comparative historical sociology, and political sociology. Her new book, Starving the Beast, asks why Republican politicians have focused so relentlessly on cutting taxes over the last several decades. Drawing on archival documents that have never before been seen, Prasad traces the history of the famous 1981 "supply side" tax cut which became the cornerstone for the next several decades of Republican domestic economic policy. She argues that the main forces behind tax cuts are not business group pressure, racial animus, or a belief that tax cuts will pay for themselves. Rather, the tax cut movement arose because in America—unlike in the rest of the advanced industrial world—progressive policies are not embedded within a larger political economy that is favorable to business, a situation whose origins she explored in a prior book, The Land of Too Much.

Prasad is the recipient of several awards including a Fulbright, a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, fellowships from the Russell Sage Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation, and several book and article awards from three scholarly associations.

Current Research

Prasad is currently conducting research on the economic consequences of market-oriented welfare policies in Europe. She is also examining state-building and the development of meritocratic bureaucracies in contemporary developing countries.

Selected Publications


Prasad M. 2018. Starving the Beast: Ronald Reagan and the Tax Cut Revolution. Russell Sage Foundation Press.

Prasad, M. 2012. The Land of Too Much: American Abundance and the Paradox of Poverty. Harvard University Press.  Winner of the 2013 American Sociological Association (ASA) Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award for best book in sociology; winner of the Social Science History Association Allan Sharlin Memoral Award for best book in 2013; winner of the European Academy of Sociology prize for best book in 2014.

Martin, I., A. Mehrotra, and M. Prasad, eds. 2009. The New Fiscal Sociology: Taxation in Comparative and Historical Perspective. Cambridge University Press.

Prasad, M. 2006. The Politics of Free Markets: The Rise of Neoliberal Economic Policies in Britain, France, Germany, and the United States. University of Chicago Press.

Journal Articles

Prasad, M. 2017. Deadly deficits. Contexts 16(1): 22–23.

Prasad, M. 2012. The popular origins of neoliberalism in the Reagan tax cut of 1981. Journal of Policy History 24(3): 351–83.

Prasad, M., and S. Munch. 2012 State-level renewable electricity policies and reductions in carbon emissions. Energy Policy 45: 237–42.

Prasad, M., and Y. Deng. 2009. Taxation and the worlds of welfare. Socio-Economic Review 7(3): 431–57.

Prasad, M., with K. Morgan. 2009. The origins of tax systems: A French-American comparison. American Journal of Sociology 14(5): 1350–94.

Prasad, M. 2005. Why is France so French? Culture, institutions, and neoliberalism, 1974–81. American Journal of Sociology 111(2): 357–407.