Joshua Tucker

Joshua Tucker is a professor of Politics at New York University with an affiliate appointment in the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies and New York University-Abu Dhabi. His major field is comparative politics with an emphasis on mass politics, including elections and voting, the development of partisan attachment, public opinion formation, and, political protest.

Recent Articles

Kim Jong Il and Vaclav Havel: How Much Do They Really Matter?

As the world digests the deaths of Vaclav Havel and Kim Jong-Il , an interesting and unresolved questions is raised for observers of politics: how much influence does any one person ever really have over the evolution of politics in a country, a region, or even the whole global political systems? From our earliest days in school, most of us are taught history as a story of individual contributions by the great men and women of the past. The American War of Independence? George Washington. The evils of WWII ? Adolf Hitler. In contrast studies of political science often focus on institutional factors. We ask whether the global system is bi-polar or multi-polar, not whether its great powers are led by visionaries or megalomaniacs. We look at prospects for social-welfare reform in terms of whether a country employs majoritarian or proportional electoral rules, not over whether countries are led people with a strong sense of morality. It seems to me – especially at a time like this – that...

Kim Jong Il and Vaclav Havel: How Much do Individuals Matter in Politics?

As the world digests the deaths of Vaclav Havel and Kim Jong-Il , an interesting and unresolved questions is raised for observers of politics: how much influence does any one person ever really have over the evolution of politics in a country, a region, or even the whole global political systems? From our earliest days in school, most of us are taught history as a story of individual contributions by the great men and women of the past. The American War of Independence? George Washington. The evils of WWII ? Adolf Hitler. In contrast studies of political science often focus on institutional factors. We ask whether the global system is bi-polar or multi-polar, not whether its great powers are led by visionaries or megalomaniacs. We look at prospects for social-welfare reform in terms of whether a country employs majoritarian or proportional electoral rules, not over whether countries are led people with a strong sense of morality. It seems to me – especially at a time like this – that...

Obama Wins...If Election Was Today

We are pleased to welcome professors Charles Tien of Hunter College and Michael Lewis-Beck of the University of Iowa with what we hope will be a regular feature on The Monkey Cage over the next 12 months: their current “nowcast” of the 2012 presidential election. In contrast to the usual election forecasting approaches, we offer nowcasting . An election nowcast predicts what would happen if the election were held “now” (Lewis-Beck, Nadeau, Bélanger, 2011). Thus, the nowcast acts as an invaluable early warning device, signaling what will come to pass unless things change. The nowcast comes from a relevant statistical model, whose parameter estimates are held valid across current moments. That is, the model (with its fixed constant and slope values) predicts the election outcome based on current (changing) X values, as the final contest approaches. Nowcasting, then, is dynamic, and election predictions may be issued on a quarterly, monthly, or even daily basis, with updates until the...

Guide to Today’s Russia Coverage at the Monkey Cage

For those interested in a quick primer on recent developments in Russia, here’s a guide to our posts today: Andrew Little on applications to Russia of theories of non-competitive elections Sam Greene on how Putinism has come to violate Russia’s non-interference social contract Regina Smyth on the dangers of over-simplifying Russian politics Konstantin Sonin on the meaning of the parliamentary elections Graeme Robertson on the beginning of the end of Putinism as we know it

Noncompetitve Elections and Information: A Theoretical Perspective on the 2011 Russian Elections

Finally (at least for today), we present the following response to the Russian parliamentary elections from Andrew Little , a Ph.D. candidate at NYU who is writing a dissertation on noncompetitive elections. In response to my queries, Andrew offered the following six points in response to the 2011 Russian elections: 1. Noncompetitive elections—those where the ultimate winner is not in doubt—matter. In one of my papers , I argue the main reasons they matter is because of the information they generate. Even if United Russia was never in danger of losing control of the Duma, the results last week seem to have drastically changed beliefs about the strength of Putin/United Russia and how long the regime will last. These elections are not window dressing or a facade to confer legitimacy—by what definition of legitimacy could anyone possibly be convinced by these elections that Putin’s rule is legitimate?—but are meaningful political events because they generate public information about the...

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