From 1961 to 1987, James Q. Wilson taught political science at Harvard University, where he was the Shattuck Professor of Government. From 1985 until 1997 he was the James Collins Professor of Management and Public Policy at UCLA. Today, he is the Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University.
He is the author or coauthor of fifteen books, the most recent of which is The Marriage Problem (HarperCollins, 2002). Others include Moral Judgment (Basic Books), the Moral Sense (Free Press), American Government (Houghton Mifflin) Bureaucracy (Basic Books) Thinking About Crime (Free Press), Varieties of Police Behavior (Harvard University Press), Political Organizations (Princeton University Press), and Crime and Human Nature (with Richard J. Herrnstein, Simon & Schuster). He has in addition edited or contributed to books on urban problems, government regulation of business, drugs, crime, and the prevention of delinquency among children. Many of his writings on morality and human character have been collected in On Character: Essays by James Q. Wilson.
Professor Wilson has served on a number of national commissions concerned with public policy. He was chairman of the White House Task Force on Crime in 1966, chairman of the National Advisory Commission on Drug Abuse Prevention in 1972-1973, a member of the Attorney General's Task Force on Violent Crime in 1981, a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from 1985 to 1991 and a member of the board of directors of the Police Foundation from 1971 to 1993. He is now serving as a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics.
He is currently chairman of the Board of Academic Advisers of the American Enterprise Institute and has been a member of the board of directors of State Farm Mutual Insurance Company and a trustee of the RAND Corporation.
In 1990 the American Political Science Association presented him with the James Madison Award for a career of distinguished scholarship and in 1991-1992 he served as the association's president. In 1994 he received the John Gaus Award for "exemplary scholarship in the fields of political science and public administration."
In 2003, President George W. Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.
He has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Philosophical Society. Educated at the University of Redlands (AB, 1952) and the University of Chicago (PhD, 1959), he has received honorary degrees from seven universities, including Harvard.
He was raised in Long Beach, California, and attended public schools there. From 1952-1955, he served in the United States Navy. A resident of Malibu, California, he is married to the former Roberta Evans; they have two children and five grandchildren.
Ph.D., 1959, A.M., 1957, University of Chicago
A.B., 1952, University of Redlands
Corporate governance, ethics, nuclear energy, federal government, state government, crime, urban affairs, politics, criminal justice, economic regulation, bureaucracy