He is cited as one of the intellectual leaders, along with Susan Strange, of the British School of International Political Economy and is still active as a scholar after his formal retirement, writing and giving occasional lectures. He is currently professor emeritus of political science and social and political thought at York University. He started work at the International Labor Organization (International Labor Organization) in Geneva, Switzerland in 1947, eventually serving as director of the International Labor Organization"s International Institute for Labour Studies (1965-1971).
Following his departure from the International Labor Organization he taught at Columbia University.
From 1977 to 1992 he was professor of political science at York University in Toronto, Canada. Cox graduated in 1946 from McGill University in Montreal, where he received a Master"s degree in history.
Following his graduation, he worked for the International Labor Organization (International Labor Organization), where he would remain for a quarter century, helping to set up and design the International Institute for Labor Studies. While his initial scholarly contributions during his time at Columbia University were quite conventional and focused on international organizations, following from his experience in the International Labor Organization, he soon adopted a more radical perspective.
During his time at York University, he began to reassert himself in a historical manner, reflective of his previous training at McGill University, which enabled him to take on more ambitious themes.
Cox describes his academic interests as no less than understanding "the structures that underlie the world".