Markus Prior

Professor of Politics and Public Affairs
Office Phone
209 Fisher Hall

Markus Prior is Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and the Department of Politics at Princeton University. He joined Princeton's faculty in 2003.

Prior studies how ordinary people engage with politics: how politics motivates them, what they know about it, and what policies and outcomes they prefer. He currently studies the time horizons of individuals’ evaluations of costs and benefits. One goal is to measure “policy patience,” the extent to which people accept policies with immediate costs and delayed collective benefits.

Prior is the author of Hooked: How Politics Captures People’s Interest (Cambridge University Press, 2019) and Post-Broadcast Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2007). Hooked analyzes why some people develop greater political interest than others. The project draws on public opinion surveys from the United States and several European countries that followed individuals for several decades. Hooked received the 2020 Robert E. Lane Award and the 2020 Alexander George Book Award.

Post-Broadcast Democracy examines how broadcast television, cable television, and the Internet changed politics in the United States, by affecting how people learn, who learns, and who votes. The book explained how greater media choice caused electoral polarization. Post-Broadcast Democracy won the 2009 Goldsmith Book Prize and the 2010 Doris Graber Award for the “best book on political communication in the last 10 years.” 

Prior’s work has also appeared in leading academic journals, including the American Journal of Political Science, the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, the Annual Review of Political Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Prior received his Ph.D. from Stanford’s Department of Communication in 2004. Prior is the winner of the 2008 Emerging Scholar Award by the Elections, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior Section of the American Political Science Association (APSA) and recipient of the E. E. Schattschneider Award for the best dissertation in American politics, awarded by the American Political Science Association.