William and Mary

Michael Tierney

George and Mary Hylton Associate Professor of International Relations

Office : Morton 36B (office hours only) & Blow Hall 152
Email : [[mjtier]]
Office Phone : 757-221-3039
Webpage : {{}}

Research Interests

International Relations, International Organization, Development Policy, and Institutional Theory


Professor Tierney received a B.A. from William and Mary in 1987 and a Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego in 2003. Professor Tierney teaches courses on Democracy and International Relations, International Organizations, and Research Methods.  He is also Director of the IR Program at W&M.  Professor Tierney is currently working on two books. The first applies principal-agent theory to explain institutional reform and behavior within multilateral development banks. The second employs a new data set covering the population of development projects from 1970-2001 and seeks to explain the allocation of environmental aid to developing countries.


International Organization (GOV 325), 3 credit lecture/discussion class, 40 undergraduates. Spring 2006.

New Approaches to the Study of International Organization (GOV 491), 4 credit senior seminar, 15 advanced undergraduates. Spring 2004, 2005, 2006.

Introduction to International Politics (GOV 204), 3 credit lecture/discussion class, 40 students. Spring or Fall 2000-2006.

Research Methods (GOV 301), 3 credit lecture/research seminar with 20 undergraduates. Fall 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003.

Empirical Research on International Institutions (GOV 391), 1 credit addendum to IO courses, 10 students. Co-taught with Daniel Maliniak and Sue Peterson. Spring 2006.

International Organization and Change (GOV 391), 1 credit course co-taught with Sue Peterson. Seminar/and student trip to Washington D.C. Spring 2004.

Introduction to Comparative Politics (GOV 203), 3 credit lecture/discussion course, 35 undergraduates at the College of William and Mary. Spring 1999, Spring 2002.

International Conflict and Cooperation (GOV 391), 3 credit discussion oriented class with multiple role-playing computer simulations, 20 undergraduates, College of William and Mary. Spring 1999, 2000.

Freshman Seminar: Democracy and War (GOV 150W), 4 credit writing seminar, 15 undergraduates. Fall 1999, 2001, 2002.


"Schoolhouse Rock: Pedagogy, Politics, and Pop," International Studies Perspectives, Volume 8, Number 1, 2007.

Bridging the Rationalist-Constructive Divide: Re-Engineering the Culture of the World Bank," with Daniel Nielson and Catherine Weaver, Journal of International Relations and Development, Volume 9, Number 2, June 2006.

Delegation and Agency in International Organizations. Co-edited with Darren Hawkins, David Lake and Daniel Nielson, Cambridge University Press, 2006.

"Delegation Under Anarchy: States, International Organizations and Principal Agent Theory," in Hawkins et al. Delegation and Agency in International Organizations, Cambridge University Press, 2006.

"Getting the Model Right: Single, Multiple, and Collective Principals in Development Aid," with Mona Lyne and Dan Nielson. In Hawkins et al, Delegation and Agency in International Organizations, Cambridge University Press, 2006.

"Inside the Ivory Tower," with Susan Peterson and Daniel Maliniak, Foreign Policy, Volume 35, Number 6, November/December 2005.

"Theory, Data, and Hypothesis Testing: World Bank Environmental Reform Redux," with Daniel Nielson, International Organization, Volume 59, Number 3, summer 2005.

"Teaching and Research Practices, Views on the Discipline, and Policy Attitudes of IR Faculty at U.S. Colleges and Universities," with Sue Peterson and Dan Maliniak, Reves Center for International Studies, Summer 2005.

"Delegation to International Organizations: Agency Theory and World Bank Environmental Reform," with Dan Nielson, International Organization, Volume 57, Number 2, Spring 2003.