Noel Maurer

Associate Professor of Business Administration (Leave of Absence)

Noel Maurer is an associate professor at the Harvard Business School in the Business, Government and the International Economy (BGIE) unit. Maurer earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1997. Between 1998 and 2004 he worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at ITAM, a university in Mexico City. Maurer also worked at an NGO dedicated to helping small rural communities in Chiapas find new business opportunities for their inhabitants.  He joined the Business School faculty in 2004.

Maurer’s primary research interest is on how governments protect (or fail to protect) property rights and how do private actors defend their property rights against predatory governments or in the face of political instability? Maurer’s first two books, The Power and the Money and The Politics of Property Rights (the second co-authored with Stephen Haber and Armando Razo) examined how Mexican politicians and private actors created mechanisms that enabled investors to protect their property rights by transferring rents to third parties upon whom the government depended for political support. If those rents were interrupted, then the third parties would withdraw their support, and the government would risk collapse. These arrangements allowed Mexico’s economy to grow substantially despite a revolution, a counter-revolution, a counter-counter-revolution, two military coups, three coup attempts, three civil wars, and two presidential assassinations.  Maurer’s third book, Mexico Since 1980 (co-authored with Herb Klein, Kevin Middlebrook and Stephen Haber) asked why Mexico’s authoritarian government collapsed in the 1980s and 1990s.  It also asks how Mexico’s transition to democracy affected the business environment.  What did democracy change and what did it not? 

He is currently researching the history of the U.S. government's attempts to protect American investors when they venture outside the United States.  He is also working on further developing a course on the politics and economics of the energy business.