Ethan Bueno de Mesquita Named Sydney Stein, Jr. Professor in American Politics

Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, an applied game theorist whose research focuses on political violence and democratic accountability, has been named the Sydney Stein, Jr. Professor in American Politics. The appointment recognizes Bueno de Mesquita's leadership at Chicago Harris and his influential career, which has spanned a wide range of subfields and research questions.

With this appointment, Bueno de Mesquita joins William Howell, the first chair of the Sydney Stein Professorship in American Politics at Chicago Harris. ​"The areas on which Ethan has worked, his productivity and professional standing, and the sheer quality of his scholarship make him an ideal candidate to fill the second chair," says Kerwin Charles, interim dean of Harris.

One strand of Bueno de Mesquita's scholarship examines electoral accountability, with a particular focus on the impact of electoral rules and information structures on the performance of elected politicians. He is also widely recognized for his work on the organizational operations and institutional design of terrorist networks, with papers ranging from an investigation of the conditions under which terrorist organizations can successfully recruit volunteers to analyses of the rationale for offering concessions to terrorists. 

Furthermore, for the past five years, Bueno de Mesquita has served as a deputy dean at Harris, assuming primary responsibility for strategic initiatives. He also directs the Political Economy workshop and the Center for Policy Entrepreneurship, and serves on various university-wide committees and editorial boards. "Along with his research, Ethan’s administrative and service contributions to the Harris School of Public Policy have been stellar," says Charles.

Bueno de Mesquita received his BA in political science from the University of Chicago and his MA and PhD in political science from Harvard. Before coming to Chicago Harris, he taught in the department of political science at Washington University in St. Louis and was a Lady Davis Fellow in political science and visiting fellow in the Center for the Study of Rationality at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the United States Institute of Peace.

"I came to Harris to help build a research group in political economy because I believe that a strategic understanding of politics is essential to a serious analysis of policy and policy change," says Bueno de Mesquita. "Because of our commitment to this idea, over the last decade or so, Harris has become perhaps the best place in the world to study political economy. So it is particularly gratifying to receive the Sydney Stein, Jr. chair, which is unusual for chairs at a policy school in being dedicated in particular to the study of politics."

"On a more personal note, I'll add that I'm an alumnus of the College and have been a faculty member at Harris for most of my professional career," he says. "The University of Chicago has been one of the most important institutions in my life and so it is personally very meaningful to me to receive this appointment." 

To learn more about Bueno de Mesquita's research, listen to his interview on Radio Harris, in which he shares how he used game theory to look at the hard economics behind factional violence.