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Stephen Silvia Professor SIS - Pol Govern Econ

Additional Positions at AU
Affiliate Professor, Department of Economics
PhD, political science, Yale University; BS, industrial and labor relations, Cornell University

Languages Spoken
German (reading, writing, and speaking) and French (reading)
Book Currently Reading
Jack Kirby, The Fourth World Omnibus
Dr. Stephen Silvia teaches international economics, international relations and comparative politics. He researches comparative labor employment relations, and comparative economic policy, with a focus on Germany and the United States.
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications


The UAW’s Southern Gamble: Organizing Workers at Foreign-Owned Vehicle Plants. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2023.

Holding the Shop Together: German Industrial Relations in the Postwar Era.  Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2013.


"(De-)Globalisierung und Industriepolitik in den USA” [“(De-)Globalization and Industrial Policy in the USA.”] In Wolfgang Lemb, ed., Perspektiven eines Industriemodells der Zukunft [Perspectives of an Industrial Model of the Future]. Marburg: Metropolis, 2021.

“A Silver Age? The German Economy since Reunification.” German Politics and Society 37, no. 4 (Winter 2020): 74-94. https://doi:10.3167/gps.2019.370407

“The Transnational Activities of German Trade Unions and Works Councils: From Foreign Policy to Active Engagement.” German Politics 29, no. 3 (2020): 404-21,

“Participatory Governance in Employment Relations.” In Hubert Heinelt, ed., Handbook on Participatory Governance.  Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2018, chap. 10, pp. 185-202 [lead author, with Wolfgang Schroeder].

“The United Auto Workers Attempts to unionize Volkswagen, Chattanooga.” Industrial and Labor Relations Review 71, no. 3 (May 2018), pp. 600-24 doi: 10.1177/0019793917723620 (Winner of the 2017 Best Paper Competition LERA/ILR Review Special Series in Employment Relations).

“Gewerkschaften und Arbeitgeberverbände [Unions and Employers Associations].” In Wolfgang Schroeder, ed., Handbuch Gewerkschaften in Deutschland [Trade Unions in Germany Handbook]. Wiesbaden: Springer VS Verlag, 2014 [with Wolfgang Schroeder], pp. 337-65.“Why do German and US Reactions to the Financial Crisis differ?” German Politics and Society 29, no. 4 (Winter 2011), pp. 68-77.

“Is the Euro Working? The Euro and European Labor Markets.” Journal of Public Policy 31, no. 3 (December 2011): 147-168. (This is a reprint of an article that originally appeared in August 2004 (vol. 24, no. 2).   It was reprinted on the occasion of Richard Rose stepping down as editor of Journal of Public Policy after 31 years of service.  It is one of the five, “outstanding and still topical articles,” that Rose selected from among all those published by the journal over the last 31 years for inclusion in the final issue under his editorship.)

“Why Germany reformed Public Pensions, but the United States did not,” German Studies Review 32, no. 1 (February 2009): 23-50.

“Why are German Employers Associations Declining?  Arguments and Evidence.” Comparative  Political Studies 40, no. 12 (Dec. 2007): 1433-59 [lead author, with Wolfgang Schroeder].

“Every Which Way but Loose: German Industrial Relations since 1980.” in Andrew Martin, George Ross, Lucio Baccaro, Anthony Daley, Lydia Fraile, Chris Howell, Richard M. Locke, Rianne Mahon, and Stephen J. Silvia, eds., The Brave New World of European Labor: European Trade Unions at the Millennium. New York: Berghahn, 1999, chap. 3, pp. 75-174.

“Green Trumps Red? Political Identity and Left-wing Politics in United Germany.” In Christopher S. Allen, ed., The Transformation of the German Party System in the Post-Cold War Era. NewYork: Berghahn, 1999, chap. 5, pp. 133-159 (with Andrei S. Markovits).

“Reform Gridlock and the Role of the Bundesrat in German Politics.” West European Politics 22, no. 2 (April 1999): 167-181.

“German Unification and Emerging Divisions within German Employers’ Associations: Cause or Catalyst?” Comparative Politics 29, no. 2 (January 1997), pp. 187-208.

“The Forward Retreat: Labor and Social Democracy in Germany, 1982-1992.” International Journal of Political Economy 22, no. 4 (Winter 1992/1993): 36-52.

“The Social Charter of the European Community: A Defeat for European Labor.” Industrial andLabor Relations Review 44, no. 4 (July 1991): 626-43.

“The West German Labor Law Controversy: A Struggle for the Factory of the Future.” Comparative Politics 20, no. 2 (January 1988): 155-173.

Media Appearances

  • ARD German Radio
  • CNN International
  • New York Times
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • Der Spiegel
  • Suddeutsche Zeitung
  • Time
  • Voice of America
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Washington Post

Congressional Testimony

United States Senate, Democratic Policy Committee. Hearing on the Reward Work Act sponsored by Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, which would prohibit stock buybacks on the open market and require one-third board representation for employees of listed companies, 26 March 2019.

Professional Presentations

  • “Die deutsche Wirtschaft 33 Jahre nach dem Mauerfall,” Mauer abbauen – vereint? US Department of State, Foreign Service Institute, 8 November 2022.

  • “Union Organizing, Public Relations Firms, and Outside Consultants: The Experience of the United Auto Workers,” Labor Employment Relations Association, 74th Annual Meeting, 1-5 June 2022.

    “The Rise and Fall and Rise of Industrial Policy in the USA,” Labor Employment Relations Association, 73rd Annual Meeting, 2-6 June 2021.

  • “The Promise and Perils of Board-level Employee Representation to empower Workers.” Constructing a New Social Compact: A Public Forum on Empowering the Post-Pandemic Working Class. Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor. Georgetown University, 28 April – 1 May 2021.

  • “The Impact of Covid-19 on Employment Relations in the United States Automobile Industry.” Addressing the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Workers in the German and US Metalworking Sectors, DC Labor and Employment Research Association International Webinar, 24 February 2021.

  • “Does Codetermination really lead to more socially beneficial Management Decisions and make Employees better Citizens?”  Online Seminar, The German System of Codetermination, Sponsored by the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, Institut für die Geschichte und Zukunft der Arbeit, Academic-Industry Research Network, 15 January 2021.

  • “The Prospects for advancing Co-determination in the United States with the New Biden Administration and Congress.”  Online Seminar, The German System of Codetermination, Sponsored by the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, Institut für die Geschichte und Zukunft der Arbeit, Academic-Industry Research Network, 4 December 2020.

  • “Die USA haben gewählt – Was bedeutet das für Arbeitnehmer*innen in Europa und den USA?” (“The USA has voted – What does it mean for Employees in Europe and the USA?”) Zoom-Onlinekonferenz, Industriegewerkschaft Metall, 9 November 2020.

  • “Dealing with the Cards You’re Dealt: Comparing COVID-19 Responses of Germany and the United Kingdom,” The Pandemic and Management Structures: Divergent National and State Responses, Academy of Management, Critical Management Studies, In-Touch Webinar Series, 29 June 2020,

  • Panelist, “COVID-19: A Stress Test for the Global Economy,” Global Insights, A transnational virtual panel discussion series organized by the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 30 April 2020,

  • “The UAW Attempts to Organize Volkswagen Chattanooga: The Sequel,” Labor Employment Relations Association, 72nd Annual Meeting, 12-16 June 2020

  • “Understanding International Relations by reading the Black Panther, Iron Man and Wonder Woman,” Catholic University of America, 25 October 2019.

  • “Organizing Using Civil Rights and Foreign Pressure: UAW at Nissan in Mississippi,” American Political Science Association, 115th Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, 29 August – 1 September 2019.  Dorothy Day Award, Honorable Mention, Labor Politics Group, APSA.

  • “Using Civil Rights Discourse and International Political Pressure to Organize: The UAW’s Campaign at Nissan Canton, Mississippi,” Labor Employment Relations Association, 71st Annual Meeting. Cleveland, OH, 12-16 June 2019

  • “Can Unions Import Power? Five U.S. Case Studies,” American Political Science Association, 114th Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, 30 August – 2 September 2018.

  • “German Trade Union Attempts to Export Power,” Labor Employment Research Association, 70th Annual Meeting. Baltimore, MD, 14-17 June 2018.

  • “The Transnational Activities of German Trade Unions: From Foreign Policy to Active Engagement,” Rethinking German Political Economy: Lessons for Comparative Theorizing after the Social Democratic Century, Goethe Institute, San Francisco, CA, 30 August 2017.

  • “Organizing in the South: What works (and what doesn’t). The United Auto Workers’ Experience with Freightliner and Mercedes Benz,” Labor Employment Research Association, 69th Annual Meeting. Anaheim, CA, 1-4 June 2017.

  • “Employee Representation at German Automobile Plants in the United States: A Tale of Three Companies,” Labor Employment Research Association, 68th Annual Meeting. Minneapolis, MN, 26-29 May 2016.

  • “German Trade Unions Wrestle with Reform:  The Strategies of IG Metall, IG BCE and ver.di.” Council for European Studies, 21st International Conference of Europeanists.  Washington, D.C., 14-16 March 2014.

  • “Diffuse Openness: An Empirical Challenge to the Hegemonic Stability Theory,” International Studies Association, Annual Convention, San Francisco, CA, 3-6 April 2013.

  • “European Labor Market Performance during the Financial and Euro Crises: Wage Rigidity and the Risk of Hysteresis,” Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, D.C., 29 January 2013.
  • “Die zwei deutschen Gewerkschaftsmodelle der Nachkriegszeit.” Das deutsche Gewerkschaftsmodell im Übergang. Festkolloquium anlässlich des 60. Geburtstages von Detlev Wetzel, der zweite Vorsitzende der IG Metall, Frankfurt am Main, 24 January 2013.
  • “German Lessons for American Manufacturers.” American Boiler Makers Association, Annual Conference, Palm Springs, CA, 13-16 January 2012.
  • “European Monetary Union: Philosophy, Organization and Performance.” Foreign Service Institute, United States Department of State, 6 September 2011.
  • “Explaining the Difference in European and US Reactions to Financial Crisis,” European Responses to Economic Crisis: Lessons for the US, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 7-8 April 2011.
  • “Understanding Germany’s Response to Economic Crises,” Three Big Players out of Sync: The United States, China and Germany in the Economic Crisis, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, 1 April 2011.
  • "The Euro Crisis: Out of the Woods, or Waste Deep in the Big Muddy?” Foreign Service Institute, United States Department of State, 8 February 2011.
  • “A Comparison of Public Pension Issues in Germany and the USA,” Université Montpellier, France, 8 October 2010.
  • “Industrial Relations in Europe, Germany and the USA: Different History, Culture and Approach,” Deutsche Post - DHL Legislative Conference, Washington, D.C., 28 June 2010.
  • “Unemployment and Labor Markets,” IX Annual Meeting of the Global Atlanticists, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 14 April 2010.
  • “Employee Relations at T-Mobile USA and Deutsche Telekom: More Contrast than Commonality,” Transnational Corporations and Labor Relations: The Case of Deutsche Telekom, A Joint Workshop sponsored by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation; the Kalmonovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, Georgetown University; and the Communication Workers of America; at Equality Center, Human Rights Campaign, Washington, D.C., 18 November 2009.


  • Guest Professor, Université Montpellier I, France, October 2010.
  • Guest Professor, University of Kassel (Germany), January 2009.  
  • DaimlerChrysler Senior Fellow, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C., 2002-2003.   
  • James Bryant Conant Fellow in German and European Studies, Minda de Gunzberg Center for European Studies, Harvard University, September 1994 - August 1995.   
  • Visiting Scholar, Zentralinstitut für sozialwissenschaftliche Forschung (ZI SOWIFO, Central Institute for Social Science Research), Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany January - August 1993.   
  • Visiting Scholar, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut Düsseldorf, Germany August - December 1992.   
  • In-Residence Fellow, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C., January - July 1992.   
  • Visiting Scholar, Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, September 1988 - August 1989.   
  • Visiting Scholar, Institut für Sozialforschung (IfS, Institute for Social Science Research), Frankfurt/Main, Germany, January - July 1986.