Estonian scientist wins important political science award
Rein Taagepera, professor emeritus at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu, is this year's recipient of the International Political Science Association’s Karl Deutsch Award.
The IPSA’s Karl Deutsch Award is one of the highest awards in the field of comparative politics, spokespeople for the University of Tartu said. The Karl Deutsch Award honors prominent scholars engaged in cross-disciplinary research.
Born in Prague, Deutsch emigrated to the U.S. in the late 1930s and later taught at Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Yale.
The Karl Deutsch Award is awarded every year as part of the IPSA’s World Congress of Political Science. Piret Ehin, deputy director of research at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, said there were several common features in the lives and academic activities of Karl Deutsch and Rein Taagepera.
"Both are East Europeans who fled to the United States to escape totalitarian regimes - Rein Taagepera from Estonia in 1944, Karl Deutsch from Czechoslovakia in 1938. Both became professors of political science in America. Both have dealt with the methodology of social sciences and have been trailblazers in the application of quantitative methods and implementing the model based approach. The research work of both has been broadly scaled and of interdisciplinary significance," Ehin said.
In his research, Taagepera constructs quantitatively predictive models in the social sciences. His most recent books are on predicting the number and size of parties on the basis of electoral systems, and logical model building in general.
He has also constructed and tested models for arms races, the increasing world population, and the growth of historic empires. He has written books on Baltic history and the Finno-Ugric republics within the Russian Federation.
Taagepera’s present research includes the impact of size of components on social phenomena, and he is finalizing a text for beginners on how to construct logical models.
Rein Taagepera also won the Johan Skytte prize in political science at Uppsala University in 2008.