Tasha Fairfield holds a Ph.D in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.A. in Latin American studies and an M.S. in physics from Stanford University, and an A.B. in physics, summa cum laude, from Harvard. She was a 2017-18 Mellon Foundation Fellow at Stanford University's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS). Her comparative politics research analyzes the political economy of inequality, the politics of policy formulation, and business-state relations in Latin America. Her methodological research examines the Bayesian logic of inference in qualitative social science.
Fairfield's book, Private Wealth and Public Revenue in Latin America: Business Power and Tax Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2015), examines how and when the interests of economic elites prevail in unequal democracies through comparative analysis of tax reform in Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia after economic liberalization. The book won the Latin American Studies Association's Donna Lee Van Cott Award in 2016.
Fairfield's methodological work applies Bayesian probability to conduct causal inference with qualitative evidence. The Bayesian notion of probability—as rational degree of belief in causal hypotheses or other propositions given the facts we do know—in principle provides a unified framework for scientific inference that cuts across many traditional divisions within political science. Her Political Analysis article on Bayesian process tracing won the American Political Science Association’s Sage Paper Award for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research in 2017.
Before arriving at the LSE, Fairfield was a Hewlett Fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute. Her research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, Fulbright-Hays, and the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD).