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

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. Framing Violence, Finding Peace

    Kristin Fabbe, Chad Hazlett and Tolga Sinmazdemir

    Attitudes toward the acceptability of settling with one's enemies versus the need to continue fighting for an all out victory are central to the course of any conflict and its legacy. On the one hand, in cases where massive violence is perpetrated against civilian populations, one expects such attitudes to be sacrosanct and nearly inalterable, perhaps for generations to come. On the other hand, even these attitudes may be informed by social cues that interpret violence in different ways and that signal who in the community supports peace. We test the malleability of these attitudes using a survey of Syrian refugees in Turkey conducted in 2016 by asking two questions: (i) Does the framing of wartime experience as “suffering” verses “sacrifice” shift attitudes about acceptable conflict outcomes? (ii) How does the identity of those proposing a peace settlement shape individuals' willingness to accept it? We examine both questions through survey experiments and find that attitudes toward peace can in fact be widely influenced by these factors in a survey setting: 18%more people agree to peace when violence is framed as “suffering” rather than “sacrifice,” and 10% more agree to peace when it is proposed by a civilian community member rather than the enemy or an armed actor. Beyond the theoretical value of this result for understanding reactions to violence among communities and individuals, it suggests useful policy tools for peacemakers.

    Keywords: Conflict and Resolution; Attitudes; Perspective;


    Fabbe, Kristin, Chad Hazlett, and Tolga Sinmazdemir. "Framing Violence, Finding Peace." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 18-049, December 2017.  View Details
Cases and Teaching Materials
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