John Odell

Professor Emeritus of International Relations

Research & Practice Areas

International political economy; International bargaining & negotiating


John Odell is also Senior Fellow of the Centre for International Governance Innovation.   He was born in San Antonio, Texas. After a tour of duty in Vietnam, he completed a Ph.D. in political science in 1976 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a member of Harvard University’s faculty from 1976 through 1982. Since 1982 Odell has taught and written at the University of Southern California, where he is Professor of International Relations Emeritus today. From 2009 to 2012 he was Director of the School of International Relations.  From 1992 through 1996 he served as Editor of International Organization, regarded by many as the leading scholarly journal of international relations in the world. From 1989 to 1992, he directed USC’s Center for International Studies.  His research and teaching have concentrated on the governance of the world economy–why governments and international organizations do what they do in international economic relations. He has written extensively about negotiations among states on issues such as trade, exchange rates and debt. He has published about negotiations in the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund. He has a special interest in qualitative research methods. His interests have drawn him from political science into economics, psychology, sociology and history as well, and have taken him back and forth between academia and practice. He has conducted field research in Europe, Asia, and Latin America as well as the United States. He has spent a year working as a visiting fellow in the office of the US Trade Representative, the top US trade negotiator. Odell has been a visiting fellow at Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry, the Institute for International Economics in Washington, and the Graduate Institute for International Studies, Geneva. He is the author or co-author of 3 books, co-editor of 3 others, and author of many research articles and book chapters. His 1987 book Anti-Protection was translated into Japanese. His Negotiating the World Economy (2000) was translated into Chinese and Spanish. Six institutions have supported Odell’s work with fellowships or grants. Many institutions have invited him to lecture–in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Hungary, China, Korea, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador as well as the United States. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank, the U.S. Department of State, the Ford Foundation, the Asia Foundation, and the Council of the Americas. In Mexico he helped train diplomats for effective economic negotiation. Odell is a member of Council on Foreign Relations, American Political Science Association, and the International Studies Association. More information can be found at his web page at March 2013.


  • Ph.D. Political Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1/1976
  • M.A. Political Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1/1968
  • B.A. Government, University of Texas, Austin, 1/1967
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Director, School of International Relations, University of Southern California, 08/2009 – 08/2012
    • Director, Political Economy and Public Policy Program, University of Southern California, 08/01/2004 – 08/01/2008
    • Visiting Fellow, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, 09/01/2002 – 12/15/2002
    • Professor, University of Southern California, 09/01/1989 –
    • Director, Center for International Studies, University of Southern California, 07/01/1989 – 06/30/1992
    • Visiting Fellow, Research Institute of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Tokyo, 05/15/1989 – 06/15/1989
    • Visiting Fellow, Institute for International Economics, Washington, 05/01/1985 – 12/31/1987
    • Director, Latin American Policy Devvelopment, Office of U.S. Trade Representative, Executive Office of the President, 09/01/1984 – 04/30/1985
    • Associate Professor, University of Southern California, 09/01/1982 – 08/31/1989
    • Assistant Professor of Government, Harvard University, 09/01/1976 – 08/31/1982

    Research, Teaching, Practice, and Clinical Appointments

    • Lecturer, Southwest Texas State University, 1968-08-15-1969-06-15

    Other Employment

    • First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 06/01/1969-05/31/1971
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Professor Odell’s primary research interest is in the politics of the world economy. He tries to illuminate why governments and other players do what they do in world trade and financial relations and related international organizations. Specifically he has written extensively about the processes of negotiation and conflict among states on issues such as trade, exchange rates and debt. He has published about developments in the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund. He has a secondary interest in qualitative research methods for theory development. He has conducted field research in and written about Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, and Switzerland as well as the U.S.

  • Conference Presentations

    • Discussant , Negotiating Climate ChangeTalk/Oral Presentation, ETH Zurich, University of Zurich, Invited, Zurich, Switzerland, Fall 2011
    • Negotiating from Weakness in International Trade Relations , International Studies Associations of Brazil and the USATalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Rio de Janeiro, Spring 2009
    • Three Islands of Knowledge about Negotiation in International Organizations , Negotiation Theory and the EU: the state of the artTalk/Oral Presentation, University College Dublin, Invited, Dublin, Fall 2008

    Other Presentations

    • Negotiating from Weakness in International Trade Relations, Invited Lecture, London, 2008-2009
    • Negotiating from Weakness in International Trade Relations, Invited Lecture, Irvine, 2008-2009
    • The History of IPE: Contributions of B. J. Cohen, Invited Lecture, Santa Barbara, 2008-2009
  • Book

    • Odell, J. S. (2006). Negotiating Trade: Developing Countries in the WTO and NAFTA. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    • Odell, J. S. (2000). Negotiating the World Economy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
    • Odell, J. S., Willett, T. D. (1990). International Trade Policies : Gains from Exchange between Economics and Political Science. The University of Michigan.
    • Odell, J. S., Willett, T. D. (1988). International Monetary Cooperation, Domestic Politics, and Policy Ideas. Journal of Public Policy, double special issue.
    • Destler, I. M., Odell, J. S. (1987). Anti-Protection: Changing Forces in U.S. Trade Politics. Washington, DC: Institute for International Economics.
    • Odell, J. S. (1982). U.S. International Monetary Policy: Markets, Power, and Ideas as Sources of Change. Princeton University Press.

    Book Chapters

    • Odell, J. S., Tingley, D. (2013). Negotiating Agreements in International Relations. Negotiating Agreement in Politics pp. 144-82.
    • Odell, J. S. (2012). Negotiation and Bargaining. Handbook of International Relations, 2d. ed. pp. 379-400. Sage.
    • Odell, J. S. (2007). Growing Power Meets Frustration in the Doha Round’s First Four Years, in Developing Countries and Global Trade Negotiations. Routledge.
    • Narlikar, A., Odell, J. S. (2006). The Strict Distributive Strategy for a Bargaining Coalition: The Like Minded Group in the World Trade Organization, 1998-2001. (Vol. 115-144) Cambridge, UK: Negotiating Trade: Developing Countries in the WTO and NAFTA/Cambridge University Press.
    • Odell, J. S., Sell, S. K. (2006). Reframing the Issue: The WTO Coalition on Intellectual Property and the Public Health, 2001. pp. p.85-114. Cambridge, UK: Negotiating Trade: Developing Countries in the WTO and NAFTA/Cambridge University Press.
    • Odell, J. S. (2005). Chairing a WTO Negotiation. pp. p.469-496. Reforming the World Trade System: Legitimacy, Efficiency, and Democratic Governance/Oxford University Press.
    • Odell, J. S. (2002). The Seattle Impasse and Its Implications for The World Trade Organization. pp. p.. Cambridge, UK: The Political Economy of International Trade Law/Cambridge University Press.
    • Odell, J. S. (2002). Bounded Rationality and the World Political Economy. pp. p.. Ithaca, NY: Governing the World’s Money/Cornell University Press.
    • Odell, J. S. (2000). Market Conditions and International Economic Negotiation: Japan and the United States in 1971, in International Economic Negotiations: Models versus Reality. Edward Elgar.
    • Odell, J. S., Eichengreen, B. (1998). The United States, the ITO, and the WTO: Exit Options, Agent Slack, and Presidential Leadership. pp. p.. The WTO as an International Organization/University of Chicago Press.
    • Odell, J. S. (1993). International Threats and Internal Politics: Brazil, the European Community, and the United States, 1985 1987, in Double Edged Diplomacy: International Bargaining and Domestic Politics. University of California Press.
    • Odell, J. S. (1969). Political Public Relations in Texas Campaining. pp. 138-145. Documents and Readings in American and Texas Government.

    Book Review

    • Crump, L., Odell, J. S. (2008). Analyzing Complex U.S. Trade Negotiations. Negotiation Journal. pp. 355-370.
    • Odell, J. S. (2006). A Major Milestone with One Major Limitation: A Comment on George and Bennett 2006. Qualitative Methods. pp. 37-40.

    Encyclopedia Article

    • Odell, J. S. (2008). Trade Policy, in Encyclopedia of U.S. Political History. (Vallely, Richard, Ed.). Vol. 7 Washington, DC: CQ Press.

    Journal Article

    • Odell, J. S., Pang, H.Understanding Change in International Organizations and other Regimes.
    • Odell, J. S. (2010). Three Islands of Knowledge about Negotiations in International Organizations. Journal of European Public Policy. Vol. 17 (5), pp. 621-34.
    • Odell, J. S. (2010). Negotiating from Weakness in International Trade Relations. Journal of World Trade. Vol. 44 (3), pp. 545-66.
    • Odell, J. S. (2009). “Breaking Deadlocks in International Institutional Negotiations: The WTO, Seattle, and Doha”. International Studies Quarterly.
    • Odell, J. S. (2005). Chairing a WTO Negotiation. Journal of International Economic Law/Oxford University Press. pp. p.425-48.
    • Odell, J. S. (2003). La OMC, otra vez en punto muerto [The WTO, deadlocked again]. Foreign Affairs en Espanol/Instituto Tecnologico Autonoma de Mexico. pp. p.111-118.
    • Odell, J. S. (2002). Creating Data on International Negotiation Strategies, Alternatives, and Outcomes. International Negotiation/Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. Vol. volume # 7, pp. page 39-52.
    • Odell, J. S. (2001). Case Study Methods in International Political Economy. International Studies Perspectives. pp. p.161-76.
    • Odell, J. S. (1997). International Economic Negotiation, Strategy Choice and Policy Beliefs. Leviathan (in Japanese).
    • Odell, J. S. (1990). Understanding International Trade Policies: An Emerging Synthesis. World Politics. Vol. 43 (1), pp. 139-167.
    • Odell, J. S. (1988). From London to Bretton Woods: Sources of Change in Bargaining Strategies and Outcomes. Journal of Public Policy. Vol. 8, pp. 287-316.
    • Odell, J. S. (1985). The Outcomes of International Trade Conflicts: The U.S. and South Korea, 1960-1981. International Studies Quarterly. Vol. 29 (3), pp. 263-86.
    • Odell, J. S. (1980). Latin American Trade Negotiations with the United States. International Organization. Vol. 34, pp. 207-28.
    • Odell, J. S. (1979). The U.S. and the Emergence of Flexible Exchange Rates: An Analysis of Foreign Policy Change. International Organization. Vol. 33, pp. 57-82.
    • Smuts Commonwealth Lecture, University of Cambridge, Spring 2009
    • USC Mellon Award for Excellence in Mentoring, Spring 2009
    • Grant from USC Center for International Studies, 2001-2002
    • Visiting Fellowship, Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, 1994-1995
    • Ford Foundation, Grant to Study International Trade, International Organizations and Negotiations, 1989-1990
    • Social Science Research Council, Advanced Research Fellowship in Foreign Policy Studies, 1987-1989
    • Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship, 1984-1985
    • Harvard University, Center for International Affairs, Fellowship, 1975-1976
    • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Research grant, 1975
    • The Brookings Institution, Guest Scholar, 1975
  • Administrative Appointments

    • Director, School of International Relations, 08/2009-08/2012
    • Director, Political Economy and Public Policy doctoral program, 2005-2008
    • Director, Center for International Studies, 1989-1992


    • Dockson Chair Search Committee, 2011-2012
    • McCone Chair Search Committee, 2006-2011
    • POIR Doctoral Program task force, 2008-2011
    • School of IR Director’s Advisory Committee and merit review panel, 1998-2009
    • College Personnel Committee, Social Sciences, 2008-2009
    • College Faculty Council, 2006-2008
    • University Benefits Advisory Committee, 2003-2008
    • University Committee on the Social Sciences and Humanities Initiative

      , 2006-2007

    • Member and chair, University Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure, social sciences panel, 1995-1999
    • McCone Chair Search Committee, 1994-1997
  • Conferences Organized

    • Co-chair, US Air Force West Coast Scholars Conference, USC, Spring 2011
    • Chief organizer, Developing countries’ trade negotiations, United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, 2002 – 2003

    Editorships and Editorial Boards

    • Senior advisor to the Editor and Board, International Organization”, 01/2006 –
    • Editorial board member, International Studies Quarterly”, 2009 – 2012
    • Member of editorial board, International Organization”, 1984 – 2003
    • Editor, International Organization”, 1992 – 1996

    Professional Memberships

    • Council on Foreign Relations, 1985 –
    • American Political Science Association, 1975 –
    • International Studies Association, 1975 –
    • Pacific Council on International Policy, 1995 – 2010