Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

Senior Fellow, Emeritus
Awards and Honors:
American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is an emeritus senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Silver Professor of Politics at New York University (NYU).

An expert on foreign policy and nation building, his current research focuses on political institutions, economic growth, and political change. He is also known for his research on policy forecasting for national security and for business concerns.

His most recent books include The Spoils of War: Greed, Power, and the Conflicts That Made Our Greatest Presidents, with Alastair Smith (Public Affairs Press, 2016); The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics (Public Affairs Press, 2011); The Predictioneer's Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future (Random House, Inc., 2009); The Strategy of Campaigning, with Kiron Skinner, Sirhey Kudelia, and Condoleezza Rice (University of Michigan Press, 2007); and The Logic of Political Survival, with Alastair Smith, Randolph M. Siverson, and James D. Morrow (MIT Press, 2003). He is the author of twelve other books, numerous policy pieces, and more than 120 academic articles. He has been profiled in the Sunday New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and the Economist Magazine. Foreign Policy magazine has recognized him as one of the top one hundred global thinkers.

Bueno de Mesquita is a former Guggenheim Fellow and in 2001–2 was president of the International Studies Association. He is an elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1999, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Queens College in New York recognized him in 1998 as one of its one hundred "alumni stars." From 1983 to 1986, he was chairman of the Department of Political Science at the University of Rochester; from 2002 to 2006 he chaired the Politics Department at NYU. He currently directs the Alexander Hamilton Center for Political Economy. He has been a visiting professor at Yale University, Cornell University, University of California at Berkeley, and NYU.

Bueno de Mesquita received his BA degree in 1967 from Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY); his MA degree in political science in 1968 from the University of Michigan; and his PhD degree in political science in 1971 from the University of Michigan.

Filter By:



Recent Commentary

In the News

Ripple Effect: Introduction

quoting Bruce Bueno de Mesquitavia The Tufts Daily
Thursday, February 7, 2019

How does gerrymandering hurt Nigerian yam farmers? Why does Danish foreign aid weaken Bangladeshi industry? Why don’t democracies always do what their people want? These are just a few of the questions, big and small, that I’ll explore in this column.

In the News

Will Venezuela’s Military Back — Or Abandon — Maduro? Here Are The 4 Things It Will Consider.

quoting Bruce Bueno de Mesquitavia Washington Post
Friday, February 1, 2019

Can Nicolás Maduro hold on to power in Venezuela? That may turn largely on whether the military will stand by him. At Slate, political scientists Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith argue the Venezuelan military will remain loyal as long as Maduro “can credibly promise to continue to pay his generals.”


Will Maduro Fall? It Depends Who’s Getting Paid.

by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smithvia Slate
Friday, January 25, 2019

Venezuela’s embattled president will survive as long as he can keep the men with guns happy.

Blank Section (Placeholder)

The Spoils of War: Greed, Power, and the Conflicts That Made Our Greatest Presidents

by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smithvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Why are America’s most beloved presidents also our most dangerous? It’s striking how many of the presidents Americans venerate—Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy, to name a few—oversaw some of the republic’s bloodiest years. Perhaps they were driven by the needs of the American people and the nation. Or maybe they were just looking out for themselves.

Analysis and Commentary

Red, White And Peaceful: Advancing U.S. Security Through Peaceful Means

by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Kiron K. Skinnervia National Interest
Monday, December 15, 2014

National security and environmental well-being can go hand in hand with solving major disputes without the use of force. America can help make this happen.

Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez

Hale, or Farewell

by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smithvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 25, 2013

A despot’s health is a serious matter. By Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith.

Former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Analysis and Commentary

In Sickness and in Health

by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smithvia Foreign Policy
Tuesday, September 18, 2012

No one likes to go to the doctor.  But for a political leader, even news of such a trip can sound like a death knell for a career.

The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics

by Bruce Bueno de Mesquitavia PublicAffairs
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

For eighteen years, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith have been part of a team revolutionizing the study of politics by turning conventional wisdom on its head. 

Hot air ballons in Bagan, Myanmar
Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Looking up in Myanmar?

by Bruce Bueno de Mesquitavia Advancing a Free Society
Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Things are looking better in Myanmar. With a shift to civilian rule, its new leader Thein Sein is implementing reforms and releasing political prisoners. Unfortunately for the Burmese people, these changes are likely to be transitory...By Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith


When the Strongman Falters

by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smithvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Arab revolts show why some autocrats hang on forever while others get swept away. By Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith.