Stasavage, David

David Stasavage

Professor of Politics

David Stasavage is a Professor of Politics and since 2012 has been chair for the Department of Politics.  Educated at Cornell and Harvard, he came to NYU in 2006, from a position as Reader at the London School of Economics. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015.

The author of three books and numerous well-published journal articles, his areas of scholarly interest are well summarized in the recent titles of these publications. The books are: Taxing the Rich: A History of Fiscal Sacrifice in the United States and Europe (Princeton 2016); States of Credit: Size, Power, and the Development of European Polities (Princeton 2011); Public Debt and the Birth of the Democratic State: France and Great Britain, 1688-1789 (Cambridge 2003). Recent articles include: "Representation and Consent: Why They First Arose in Europe and Not Elsewhere", Annual Review of Political Science (2016); “Was Weber Right? The Role of Urban Autonomy in Europe’s Rise” American Political Science Review (2014); “Technology and the Era of the Mass Army” Journal of Economic History (2014); “What Democracy Does (and Doesn’t Do) for Basic Services: School Fees, School Quality, and African Elections” Journal of Politics (2014); “Democracy, War, and Wealth: Evidence from Two Centuries of Inheritance Taxation” American Political Science Review (2012).

This impressive body of work can crudely be summarized as (long run) historical political economy. While this is not a common intellectual path for a rigorously trained modern political scientist to take, Stasavage’s scholarship has been extremely well-received and influential within the profession, and has built into a very distinctive intellectual contribution to a field of study that has become particularly associated with him. He has become a distinctive, high-impact, and therefore very respected and sought-after, voice in the profession. This, in turn, gives him a strong claim to a named chair in any excellent university.

Stasavage’s distinctive voice makes him an invaluable asset in the education of both undergraduate and graduate students at NYU. A key feature of the Politics Department at NYU is that it is extremely strong in “high-tech” formal theoretical and statistical modeling. Given his graduate training and research interests, Stasavage can interface with this formal work, but his fundamentally historical interests (he is an affiliated professor in History) mean that he can address the needs of a very wide range of students at all levels whose interests are more broadly based and not purely technical. His scholarship and expertise are therefore a distinctive and invaluable component of the department’s teaching profile.