Mark Zachary Taylor
Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts
Professor "Zak" Taylor, formerly a solid-state physicist, now specializes in international relations, political economy, and comparative politics. In his research, he seeks to explain why some countries are better than others at long-run technological innovation, even amongst the industrialized democracies. He uses statistical analysis of patents, scholarly publications, and high technology production data combined with country-level case studies, to test the relative impact of domestic political institutions versus international relationships on national innovation rates. He shows that while institutions such as democracy, markets, and property rights are important for long-run technological progress, certain kinds of international relationships are even more vital for the acquisition and maintenance of national scientific capabilities.
Taylor also contends that technological innovation is not a natural result of "good" domestic institutions, but is a rational response to specific sets of national security problems. These findings have important implications for theories of international relations and political economy, as well as immigration, education, and FDI policies. In addition to his work on technological innovation, Taylor's research interests include the politics of science, comparative democratic institutions, and the politics of economic growth & structural adjustment.
His research has appeared in the journals Foreign Affairs, International Organization, Security Studies, Harvard International Review, Review of Policy Research and the Journal of Political Science Education. Taylor earned his PhD in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his MA in International Relations from Yale University and his BA in Physics from University of California-Berkeley.