Kristin E. Fabbe - Faculty & Research - Harvard Business School
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Kristin E. Fabbe

Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Business, Government and the International Economy

Kristin Fabbe is an assistant professor in the Business, Government, and International Economy Unit, where she teaches the course of the same name in the MBA required curriculum. Her primary expertise is in comparative politics, with a regional focus on the Middle East and southeastern Europe, particularly Turkey. 

Kristin is co-chair for the study group on Colonial Encounters and Divergent Development Trajectories in the Mediterranean at Center for European Studies at Harvard and a faculty affiliate at the Middle East Initiative at the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center. 

In her research, Professor Fabbe seeks to understand the relationship between state-driven development strategies and identity politics. She has analyzed the role of religious elites, institutions, and attachments in state centralization initiatives in Greece, Turkey, and Egypt, and examined how laws, norms, and access to capital shape the experiences of female business owners in Northern Iraq and the wider Middle East. Her opinion pieces on regional issues have been published in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and The Christian Science Monitor.

Professor Fabbe received her PhD in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also holds an MSc in international relations from the London School of Economics and a BA in history from Lewis and Clark College. Before joining HBS, she was an assistant professor of government at Claremont McKenna College.

Journal Articles
  1. Doing More with Less: the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkish Elections, and the Uncertain Future of Turkish Politics

    Kristin Fabbe

    The outcome of Turkey's June 2011 elections temporarily quelled—though by no means entirely put to rest—growing concern over the creeping autocratic tendencies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). To ensure that democracy remains durable, the AKP must now clearly demonstrate that it is willing to shun heavy-handed tactics and instead engage the opposition in a genuine dialog regarding important matters of constitutional change, especially those related to individual rights and identity issues. A slide toward autocracy has been an all-too-common pitfall in Turkish politics over the years. Should it so choose, the AKP is well poised to break the cycle at this critical juncture in Turkish politics.

    Keywords: Government and Politics; Turkey;

  2. After the Arab Spring: Are Secular Parties the Answer?

    Mieczysław Boduszyński, Kristin Fabbe and Christopher Lamont

    After the "Arab Spring" and the initial democratic reforms in Turkey under the Justice and Development Party (AKP), why has democratic progress remained so elusive in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)? In recent years, that question has preoccupied numerous scholars, commentators, and policy makers. Behind most of their analyses, we believe, lurks an assumption that secular parties are intrinsically better stewards of constitutional liberalism than their Islamist counterparts. Yet have non-Islamist parties really been superior agents of democratic change? We test this by surveying secular parties in three countries: Egypt, Tunisia, and Turkey. In order to assess each party's liberal credentials, we analyze each along four key dimensions: 1) history of exclusivist and statist positions, 2) ties to the military, 3) past political behavior, and 4) internal party democracy.

    Keywords: Religion; Government and Politics; Business and Government Relations; North Africa; Egypt; Middle East; Turkey;


    Boduszyński, Mieczysław, Kristin Fabbe, and Christopher Lamont. "After the Arab Spring: Are Secular Parties the Answer?" Journal of Democracy 26, no. 4 (October 2015): 125–139.  View Details
  3. Historical Legacies, Modern Conflicts: State Consolidation and Religious Pluralism in Greece and Turkey

    Kristin Fabbe

    Through a comparative study of state consolidation processes and the acceptance of religious tolerance in Greece and Turkey, this piece shows that there is often a direct link between strategies of state building, the creation of state identities, and contemporary acceptance of pluralistic norms regarding religious tolerance. Tracing early examples through to the present, the paper demonstrates that state elites privileged religious categories over potential alternatives in the state consolidation process. I argue that, as a result, religious identity markers have assumed a privileged and almost 'untouchable' position in both the Greek and Turkish national narratives, making issues of religious tolerance and pluralism sensitive focal points in contemporary debates over Europeanizing reforms and religion-state relations in times of crisis.

    Keywords: Religion; Government and Politics; Power and Influence; Turkey; Greece;


    Fabbe, Kristin. "Historical Legacies, Modern Conflicts: State Consolidation and Religious Pluralism in Greece and Turkey." Southeast European and Black Sea Studies 13, no. 3 (2013): 435–453.  View Details
Working Papers
  1. A Persuasive Peace: Syrian Refugees' Attitudes towards Compromise and Civil War Termination

    Kristin Fabbe, Chad Hazlett and Tolga Sinmazdemir

    Civilians who have fled violent conflict and settled in neighboring countries are integral to processes of civil war termination. Contingent on their attitudes, they can either back peaceful settlements or support warring groups and continued fighting. Attitudes toward peaceful settlement are expected to be especially obdurate for civilians who have been exposed to violence. In a survey of 1,120 Syrian refugees in Turkey conducted in 2016, we use experiments to examine attitudes towards two critical phases of conflict termination—a ceasefire and a peace agreement. We test the malleability of refugees' attitudes to see if subtle changes in how these processes are framed or who endorses them can render a ceasefire proposal more or less favorable, or produce attitudes that are more or less open to compromise with the incumbent regime of Assad. Our results show, first, that refugees are far more likely to agree to a cease-fire proposed by a civilian as opposed to one proposed by armed actors from either the Syrian government or the opposition. Second, we find that merely describing the refugee community's wartime experience as suffering rather than sacrifice increases willingness to compromise with the Syrian government to bring about peace. This effect remains strong among those experiencing greater violence. Together, these results show that even among a highly pro-opposition population that has experienced severe violence, attitudes toward willingness to settle and make peace are remarkably malleable, depending on factors such as who proposes a deal and how wartime losses are characterized.

    Keywords: refugees; violence; conflict; Syria; Refugees; Conflict and Resolution; War; Attitudes; Perspective; Syria;


    Fabbe, Kristin, Chad Hazlett, and Tolga Sinmazdemir. "A Persuasive Peace: Syrian Refugees' Attitudes towards Compromise and Civil War Termination." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 18-049, December 2017. (Revised May 2018.)  View Details
Cases and Teaching Materials
  1. OCP Group

    Kristin Fabbe, Forest Reinhardt, Natalie Kindred and Alpana Thapar

    This case explores the strategy of OCP Group, the 95% state-owned Moroccan firm charged with managing the North African country’s vast reserves of phosphate. Phosphate was one of the most vital macronutrients for plant health, along with nitrogen and potassium, and Morocco had about 75% of known worldwide reserves. In 2017, under the leadership of Dr. Mostafa Terrab, OCP was halfway through a $20 billion industrial transformation program aimed at increasing its industrial capacity, improving cost efficiencies, and boosting long-term competitiveness. The program involved moving OCP beyond mining and exporting raw phosphate rock—its traditional focus, which it performed at a relatively low cost—towards greater production of phosphoric acid and finished fertilizer products. In the next phase of the program, OCP planned to ramp up its focus on fertilizer production, especially for markets in Africa, where fertilizer was historically underutilized. Terrab and his team saw an opportunity to nurture and meet fertilizer demand by creating products tailored to the needs of African farmers. This case provides background on Morocco, the fertilizer industry, and OCP Group’s past, current, and envisioned strategy and operations. With this context, students are invited to consider how aggressively OCP Group should pursue downstream integration (and specifically its Africa strategy), as well as how OCP can best leverage its competitive advantages and utilize Morocco’s phosphate reserves to its—and Morocco’s—benefit.

    Keywords: OCP; OCP Group; Casablanca; chemicals; Chemicals; Operations; Transformation; Competitive Strategy; Competitive Advantage; Chemical Industry; Morocco;


    Fabbe, Kristin, Forest Reinhardt, Natalie Kindred, and Alpana Thapar. "OCP Group." Harvard Business School Case 718-002, December 2017. (Revised June 2018.)  View Details
Other Publications and Materials
  1. Forward-Facing and Behind the Scenes: Shifts in Political Islam in Post–July 15 Turkey

    Kristin Fabbe

    Keywords: Turkey; politics; Islam; Religion; Government and Politics; Turkey;


    Fabbe, Kristin. "Forward-Facing and Behind the Scenes: Shifts in Political Islam in Post–July 15 Turkey." In Contemporary Turkish Politics. No. 22, 12–15. POMEPS Studies. Washington, DC: Project on Middle East Political Science, 2016. Electronic. (Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.)  View Details