Rein Taagepera (born 28 February 1933) is an Estonian political
scientist and former politician.
2 Political career
3 Scholarly works
3.1 Key Publications
6 External links
Born in Tartu, Estonia, Taagepera fled from occupied
Estonia in 1944.
Taagepera graduated from high school in Marrakech,
Morocco and then
studied physics in
Canada and the United States. He received a Ph.D.
University of Delaware
University of Delaware in 1965. Working in industry until
1970, he received another M.A. in international relations in 1969 and
switched to academe as a political scientist at the University of
California, Irvine, where he stayed for his entire American career.
Taagepera served as President of the Association for the Advancement
of Baltic Studies from 1986 until 1988. In 1991, he returned to
Estonia as the founding dean of a new School of Social Sciences at the
University of Tartu, which merged into a full-fledged faculty in 1994,
and where he also became Professor of Political Science (1994–1998).
In 1991, he was a member of the Estonian Constitutional Assembly, and
in 1992, he ran as a presidential candidate against Arnold Rüütel
(3rd President of the Republic of Estonia, 2001–2006), and Lennart
Meri (2nd President of the Republic of Estonia, 1992–2001), who won
the election. Taagepera came in third with 23% of the popular vote.
Later Taagepera admitted that one of the reasons why he ran, despite
having little chance to win, was to take away votes from Rüütel and
thus help Meri rise to the presidency.
In 2003, Taagepera agreed to serve for half a year as the founding
chairman of a new political party, Res Publica, which won the general
elections that year and lead the governing coalition under Prime
Juhan Parts until April 2005. Taagepera tried to hold the
party more or less in the middle of the spectrum (Taagepera even
suggested he was centre-left politician). In 2005, Taagepera resigned
his Res Publica membership, frustrated with the party's leadership
style and move to the right (refer to his essay, Meteoric trajectory).
In April 2006, Res Publica decided to merge with the
national-conservative Pro Patria Union party.
Taagepera's theoretical scholarly work, which mainly deals with
electoral systems, is heavily quantitative and modelling in character
and strongly informed by the epistemology of his previous field,
physics. The quantitative approach is also his general attitude
towards political science as a scholarly discipline. He recently
systhematized numerous contributions in electoral systems theory into
a general, quantitative theoretical framework, exposed in the volume
Predicting Party Sizes: The Logic of Simple Electoral Systems (2007).
Taagepera's original epistemological and methodological approach,
defined as logical quantitative modeling, is systematically presented
in the recent volume Making Social Sciences More Scientific. The Need
for Predictive Models (2008). Of special interest is his research in
the World System hyperbolic growth.
Apart from the quantitative study of electoral and party systems,
Taagepera has also published several studies of Estonian and Baltic
history, politics, and culture. These latter, on the other hand, are
more personal and take strong normative positions. Taagepera has also
written award-winning pieces of prose (most notably Livland-Leaveland
in 1990. It was awarded the
Tuglas Prize in the same year).
Seats and Votes: The Effects and Determinants of Electoral Systems,
Estonia: Return to independence, 1993
The Baltic States: Years of Dependence, 1940-1990, 2nd edn. 1993,
co-author ISBN 0-520-08228-1
The Finno-Ugric republics and the Russian state, 1999
"Meteoric trajectory: The
Res Publica Party
Res Publica Party in Estonia" (2006),
Democratization 13(1): 78-94. the original conference paper as pdf
file This essay gives a moderately candid account of Taagepera's Res
Publica chairmanship and his evaluation of the party and its rise and
Predicting Party Sizes: The Logic of Simple Electoral Systems, 2007
Making Social Sciences More Scientific. The Need for Predictive
Models, 2008 ISBN 0-19-953466-7
Parsimonious model for predicting mean cabinet duration on the basis
of electoral system (with Allan Sikk), Party Politics, 2010.
Taagepera received the American Political Science Association's
Hallett (1999) and Longley (2003) Awards as well as the Estonian
National Science Prize, Social Science
Category (1999) and the 2008
Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science.
^ Taagepera, Rein (1976) Crisis around 2005 A.D.? A
technology-population interaction model. General Systems 21, 137-138;
Taagepera, Rein (1979) People, skills, and resources: An interaction
model for world population growth. Technological Forecasting and
Social Change 13, 13-30.
Rein Taagepera's profile in the University of California - Irvine
Rein Taagepera's profile in the University of
Recipients of the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science
1995 Robert A. Dahl
1996 Juan José Linz
1997 Arend Lijphart
1998 Alexander L. George
1999 Elinor Ostrom
2000 Fritz W. Scharpf
2001 Brian Barry
2002 Sidney Verba
2003 Hanna Pitkin
2004 Jean Blondel
2005 Robert Keohane
2006 Robert D. Putnam
2007 Theda Skocpol
2008 Rein Taagepera
2009 Philippe C. Schmitter
2010 Adam Przeworski
Ronald Inglehart / Pippa Norris
2012 Carole Pateman
2013 Robert Axelrod
2014 David Collier
2015 Francis Fukuyama
2016 Jon Elster
2017 Amartya Sen
ISNI: 0000 0001 2134 2323
BNF: cb12441423z (data)