Michael Tomz is the William Bennett Munro Professor in Political Science and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development, and the Landreth Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education.

Tomz has published in the fields of international relations, American politics, comparative politics, and statistical methods. He is the author of Reputation and International Cooperation: Sovereign Debt across Three Centuries and numerous articles in political science and economics journals.

Tomz received the International Studies Association’s Karl Deutsch Award, given to a scholar who, within 10 years of earning a Ph.D., has made the most significant contribution to the study of international relations. He has also won the Giovanni Sartori Award for the best book developing or applying qualitative methods; the Jack L. Walker Award for the best article on Political Organizations and Parties; the best paper award from the APSA section on Elections, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior; the best paper award from the APSA section on Experimental Research; and the Okidata Best Research Software Award. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation.

Tomz has received numerous teaching awards, including the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Cox Medal for Excellence in Fostering Undergraduate Research. In 2017 he received Stanford’s highest teaching honor, the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching. He founded and continues to direct the Summer Research College program for undergraduates in political science.

Tomz holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University; a master’s degree from the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar; and an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University. He has been a visiting scholar at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the Hoover Institution, the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, and the International Monetary Fund.

Program Affiliations

  • Program in International Relations

Professional Education

  • B.S.F.S., Georgetown University, International Relations (1992)
  • M.Phil., University of Oxford, Politics (1994)
  • Ph.D., Harvard University, Political Science (2001)

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • Research can help to tackle AI-generated disinformation. Nature human behaviour Feuerriegel, S., DiResta, R., Goldstein, J. A., Kumar, S., Lorenz-Spreen, P., Tomz, M., Pröllochs, N. 2023

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41562-023-01726-2

    View details for PubMedID 37985906

    View details for PubMedCentralID 10306283

  • How membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization transforms public support for war. PNAS nexus Tomz, M., Weeks, J. L., Bansak, K. 2023; 2 (7): pgad206


    How do military alliances affect public support for defending targets of aggression? We studied this question by fielding an experiment on 14,000 voters in 13 member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Our experiment involved a hypothetical scenario in which Russia attacked a target country. We randomly varied the identity of the target (Bosnia, Finland, Georgia, or Sweden), and whether the target was a member of NATO at the time of the attack. We found that voters in every member country were far more willing to use military force to defend each target when the target was in NATO, than when the target was outside the alliance. The expansion of NATO could, therefore, transform European security by altering the likelihood and scale of future wars. We also uncovered important heterogeneity across targets: the benefits of joining NATO were considerably larger for Bosnia and Georgia than for Finland and Sweden, since most voters in NATO countries would defend Finland and Sweden even if they remained outside the alliance. Finally, the effect of NATO was much stronger among voters who perceived NATO as valuable for their own country. Rhetorical attacks on NATO could, therefore, undermine the alliance by eroding the public's willingness to defend other members, whereas rhetoric highlighting the benefits of NATO could bolster defense and deterrence. These findings advance knowledge about the effects of alliances, while also informing policy debates about the value and size of NATO.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/pnasnexus/pgad206

    View details for PubMedID 37416872

  • The Effects of Naming and Shaming on Public Support for Compliance with International Agreements: An Experimental Analysis of the Paris Agreement INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION Tingley, D., Tomz, M. 2021
  • Military Alliances and Public Support for War INTERNATIONAL STUDIES QUARTERLY Tomz, M., Weeks, J. P. 2021; 65 (3)
  • Public Opinion and Foreign Electoral Intervention AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW Tomz, M., Weeks, J. P. 2020; 114 (3): 856–73
  • Human Rights and Public Support for War JOURNAL OF POLITICS Tomz, M. R., Weeks, J. P. 2020; 82 (1): 182–94

    View details for DOI 10.1086/705741

    View details for Web of Science ID 000507300100016

  • Public Opinion and Decisions About Military Force in Democracies INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION Tomz, M., Weeks, J. P., Yarhi-Milo, K. 2020; 74 (1): 119–43
  • International commitments and domestic opinion: the effect of the Paris Agreement on public support for policies to address climate change ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS Tingley, D., Tomz, M. 2019
  • Does Private Regulation Preempt Public Regulation? AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW Malhotra, N., Monin, B., Tomz, M. 2019; 113 (1): 19–37
  • Why Don't Trade Preferences Reflect Economic Self-Interest? INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION Rho, S., Tomz, M. 2017; 71: S85-S108
  • Conditional Cooperation and Climate Change COMPARATIVE POLITICAL STUDIES Tingley, D., Tomz, M. 2014; 47 (3): 344-368
  • Public Opinion and the Democratic Peace AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW Tomz, M. R., Weeks, J. L. 2013; 107 (4): 849-865
  • Empirical Research on Sovereign Debt and Default ANNUAL REVIEW OF ECONOMICS, VOL 5 Tomz, M., Wright, M. L. 2013; 5: 247-272
  • International Finance Handbook of International Relations Tomz, M. edited by Carlsnaes, W., Risse, T., Simmmons, B. New York: Sage. 2012; 2nd: 692–719
  • Sovereign Theft: Theory and Evidence about Default and Expropriation The Natural Resources Trap: Private Investment without Public Commitment Tomz, M., Wright, M. edited by Hogan, W., Sturzenegger, F. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 2010
  • The Electoral Implications of Candidate Ambiguity AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW Tomz, M., Van Houweling, R. P. 2009; 103 (1): 83-98
  • The Foundations of Domestic Audience Costs: Attitudes, Expectations, and Institutions Kitai, Seido, Gurobaru-shakai (Expectations, Institutions, and Global Society) Tomz, M. edited by Kohno, M., Tanaka, A. Tokyo: Keiso-Shobo. 2009: 85–97
  • Candidate positioning and voter choice AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW Tomz, M., Van Houweling, R. P. 2008; 102 (3): 303-318
  • Do we really know that the WTO increases trade? Comment 8th Annual Conference of the International-Society-for-New-Institutional-Economics Tomz, M., Goldstein, J. L., Rivers, D. AMER ECONOMIC ASSOC. 2007: 2005–18
  • Domestic audience costs in international relations: An experimental approach INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION Tomz, M. 2007; 61 (4): 821-840
  • Do countries default in "bad times"? 21th Annual Congress of the European-Economic-Association Tomz, M., Wright, M. L. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2007: 352–60
  • Institutions in International Relations: Understanding the effects of the GATT and the WTO on world trade Annual Meeting of the American-Political-Science-Association Goldstein, J. L., Rivers, D., Tomz, M. CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS. 2007: 37–67
  • Reputation and International Cooperation: Sovereign Debt across Three Centuries Tomz, M. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 2007
  • How does voting equipment affect the racial gap in voided ballots? AMERICAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE Tomz, M., Van Houweling, R. P. 2003; 47 (1): 46-60
  • Clarify: Software for Interpreting and Presenting Statistical Results Journal of Statistical Software Tomz, M., Wittenberg, J., King, G. 2003; 8 (1)
  • Relogit: Rare Events Logistic Regression Journal of Statistical Software Tomz, M., King, G., Zeng, L. 2003; 8 (2)
  • Clarify: Software for Interpreting and Presenting Statistical Results Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics Tomz, M., Wittenberg, J., King, G. 2003; 12 (1): 245–246
  • Relogit: Rare Events Logistic Regression Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics Tomz, M. 2003; 12 (1): 246–247
  • An Easy and Accurate Regression Model for Multiparty Electoral Data Political Analysis Tomz, M., Tucker, J., Wittenberg, J. 2002; 10 (1): 66–83
  • Making the most of statistical analyses: Improving interpretation and presentation AMERICAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE King, G., Tomz, M., Wittenberg, J. 2000; 44 (2): 347-361
  • Modern Political Economy and Latin America: Theory and Policy Tomz, M. edited by Frieden, J., Pastor, M., Tomz, M. Boulder: Westview Press. 2000
  • Electoral surprise and the midterm loss in US congressional elections BRITISH JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE Scheve, K., Tomz, M. 1999; 29: 507-521
  • The long-run advantages of centralization for collective action: A comment 54th Annual Meeting of the Midwest-Political-Science-Association Schwartz, E. P., Tomz, M. R. CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS. 1997: 685–93