Main Page


Biographical Background



   Social and
   Political Theory

   Politics and
   Social Criticism
   (including    foreign policy)

   Health Care

   Communications    and Information


Paul Starr

At the Burgtheater, Vienna, forum on journalism and democracy, 2010.

Professor of sociology and public affairs, and Stuart professor of communications and public affairs, Princeton University; co-founder and founding co-editor, The American Prospect

Biographical Sketch
Educational and Professional Background.
Contact information


Paul Starr is professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University and Stuart Professor of communications and public affairs at Princeton's School of Public and International Affairs. He also serves as founding co-editor of The American Prospect, a liberal magazine that he co-founded in 1990 with Robert Kuttner and Robert Reich.

Professor Starr's work addresses a wide range of questions in politics, public policy, and social theory. Within sociology, his current interests include institutional analysis, political sociology, and the sociology of knowledge, technology, and information, especially as they bear on democracy, equality, and freedom. During 1993 he served as a senior health policy advisor at the White House.

Professor Starr has written three books about health care institutions and policies. The Social Transformation of American Medicine (1983) won the Bancroft Prize (American History), C. Wright Mills Award (Sociology), and Pulitzer Prize (General Nonfiction). The Logic of Health Care Reform (1992) laid out the case for a system of universal health insurance provided through a choice of private plans in what are now called insurance exchanges. His most recent book on health-care history and politics is Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Health-Care Reform (2011, revised ed. 2013).

Professor Starr has also written extensively on media, the public, and liberalism. His 2004 book The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communications received the Goldsmith Book Prize. Freedom's Power (2007) is an account of both the philosophical and institutional development of liberalism from its classical to modern phases. His most recent book, Entrenchment, is about the entrenchment of of wealth and power, and of constitutional limits on concentrated power and privilege.

Sandra Starr, Paul Starr's first wife, died in 1998. Now married to Ann Baynes Coiro, he has four children and three step-children.


  • BA, Columbia University (1970).
  • Ph.D., Sociology, Harvard University (1978).


  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences,Stanford University, 2014-15.
  • Fellow in Law, Science and Medicine, Yale Law School, 1974-75.
  • Junior Fellow, Society of Fellows, Harvard University, 1975-78.
  • Fellow, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 1981-82.
  • C. Wright Mills Award of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, 1983.
  • Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, 1984.
  • Bancroft Prize in American History, 1984.
  • James Hamilton Award, American College of Health Care Executives, 1984
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, State University of New York, 1986.
  • High School Diploma (hoonorary; didn't graduate originally), Eastchester High School, 1985.
  • Goldsmith Book Prize, 2005.


  • Project Director, Center for Study of Responsive Law, 1971-72.
  • Assistant Professor of Sociology, Harvard University, 1978-83.
  • Associate Professor of Sociology, Harvard University, 1983-85.
  • Member, Institute for Advanced Study, 1984-85.
  • Adviser on health policy, via Department of Health and Human Services, to the White House, February 1, 1993-July 30, 1993
  • Director, Century Institute, 1999-2003


  • Department of Sociology, 124 Wallace Hall Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544

Last modified, July 18, 2020