Robert David Putnam (born 1941) is an American political scientist. He is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. Putnam developed the influential two-level game theory that assumes international agreements will only be successfully brokered if they also result in domestic benefits. His most famous (and controversial) work, Bowling Alone, argues that the United States has undergone an unprecedented collapse in civic, social, associational, and political life (social capital) since the 1960s, with serious negative consequences. In March 2015, he published a book called Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis that looked at issues of inequality of opportunity in the United States. According to the Open Syllabus Project, Putnam is the third most frequently cited author on college syllabi for political science courses.

Books in order of publication:

The Beliefs of Politicians: Ideology, Conflict, and Democracy in Britain and Italy New Haven: Yale University Press, (1973)

The Comparative Study of Political Elites Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, (1976)

Bureaucrats and Politicians in Western Democracies (with Joel D. Aberbach and Bert A. Rockman, 1981)

Hanging Together: Cooperation and Conflict in the Seven-Power Summits (with Nicholas Bayne, 1984; revised 1987)

Staying together: the G8 summit confronts the 21st century. (2005, Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing.

“Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games”. International Organization. 42 (Summer 1988): 427–460.

Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (with Robert Leonardi and Raffaella Nanetti, 1993)

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (2000) 

Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society (Edited by Robert D. Putnam), Oxford University Press, (2002)

Better Together: Restoring the American Community (with Lewis M. Feldstein, 2003)

Age of Obama (co-written with Tom Clark and Edward Fieldhouse), Manchester University Press (2010)

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. w/ David E. Campbell (co-author) (February 21, 2012). Simon and Schuster.

 Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. Simon & Schuster. March 10, 2015.

The Upswing: How America came together a century ago and how we can do it again. Garrett, Shaylyn Romney (First Simon & Schuster hardcover ed.) (October 13, 2020). New York, NY.