Graduating from Swarthmore with a bachelor of arts degree with highest honours in 1963, Robert Putnam went on to study at Balliol College, Oxford – where he spent a good deal of time with David Butler and Donald Stokes, (who were writing at the time). He then went to Yale to do graduate work. There he earned a master’s in 1965 and a doctorate in 1970. He had wanted to do a comparative study covering Britain and a contrasting country. He chose Italy – partly influenced by Joe LaPalombara’s enthusiasm for the country. This work became the book, . Published in 1973 it was to establish him as a major figure in his discipline. Robert Putnam’s reputation was further strengthened by studies of political elites (1976) and summits (1984).


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