This paper grapples with a complex and multifaceted issue. It seeks to understand why political economy has not been established as an institutionalized subfield in the field of American politics within the political science discipline. Establishing American political economy (APE) as a viable subfield is made extremely difficult, given the structural obstacles impeding both the development and maintenance of this subfield within American politics, as well as how the broader field of political economy has been defined in both comparative politics and international relations. In turn, this dilemma is of a reinforcing path-dependent nature that fosters incentives for scholars (and their research) to be housed within existing institutionalized subfields of American politics that are not compatible with the broader political economy field within the political science discipline. Recommendations are put forth, suggesting a path forward to create conditions that are conducive toward developing an institutionalized APE subfield that complements the field of American politics, while being compatible with the dominant subfield groups within the political economy field comprised of both comparative politics and international relations.