photo: Susan Aaronson

Susan Ariel Aaronson

Research Professor
Suite 50
Address: Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW
Phone: 202-994-7974
Fax: 202-994-5477

Areas of Expertise

International trade and investment agreements; transparent trade policymaking; corruption and development; Internet governance; internet freedom; economic growth and human rights, global corporate social responsibility


Susan Ariel Aaronson is Research Professor at The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs and the former Minerva Chair at the National War College. She directs a fellowship fund for students working on internet issues, the eBay Policy Scholars, and has organized a seminar series on Internet issues. While at GWU, Aaronson has received grants from the MacArthur, Ford, Swiss National Science Foundation and Ford Motor Company for her work on internet freedom and trade, corruption, and business and human rights.  Her current research focuses on malware, trade and trust; the WTO and conflict; and repression, civil conflict and socio-economic outcomes.

Dr. Aaronson is a frequent speaker on public understanding of globalization issues and international economic developments. She was a regular commentator on "All Things Considered" in 1994–1995, "Marketplace" from 1995–1998, and "Morning Edition" from 1998-2001. She has also appeared on CNN, the BBC, and PBS to discuss trade and globalization issues. She has also been a Guest Scholar in Economics at the Brookings Institution (1995–1999); and a Research Fellow at the World Trade Institute 2008-2012.

Dr. Aaronson is the Treasurer of Giganet; serves on the Advisory Board for Business-Human Rights; and is a Senior External Advisor to the Business and Society Team of Oxford Analytica. In recent years, she has been a pro-bono advisor to the UN Special Representative on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights, and the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. She has also consulted for the ILO; the World Bank; Free the Slaves; the Ford Foundation; the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; the Stanley Foundation; several corporations; and the governments of Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands, among others.

Aaronson is the author of six books and numerous articles on trade, human rights, internet governance, and other issues related to globalization.

Current Research

  • WTO membership and inter-state conflict
  • Surveillance and Trade policy
  • T-TIP: Modernizing Trade Policymaking
  • Apps and New Ideas to Reduce Corruption
  • Business and human rights
  • Modernizing international investment policies


Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University


Dr. Aaronson is the author of six books and numerous articles on trade, human rights, international investment; public private partnerships; globalization, corporate social responsibility; and public understanding of economic change. Her books include:

Dr. Aaronson has also written two primers on trade — "Trade is Everybody's Business" for high school students and "Are there Trade Offs When Americans Trade?" for adults. These books relate trade to citizens' daily lives.

Her recent articles include:

Classes Taught

HIST 6031 History of International Economic Systems: the WTO and the Bretton Woods Institutions

IAFF 6198 Special Topics in International Trade and Investment Policy

  • Trade Issues and Strategies
  • Digital Trade and Global Governance Issues

IAFF 6505 Corruption, Development and Good Governance

Courses in Development:

  • Trade and the Internet
  • Comparative US and EU Trade Policymaking