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Jan Zilinsky

Research fellow and lecturer at the Chair of Digital Governance at the TUM School of Social Sciences & Technology in Munich.

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I study both productive and negative political behavior. On the positive side, I’m interested in how voters process new information. The darker side involves grievance politics, misinformation, conspiracy-theorizing and hostility on digital platforms.

I hold an undergraduate degree in economics from Harvard, a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and received my Ph.D. from New York University in 2022.

A list of research areas and some recent publications are listed below.

Recent publications

Division Does Not Imply Predictability: Demographics Continue to Reveal Little About Voting and Partisanship.
Geographic Boundaries and Local Economic Conditions Matter for Views of the Economy.
Is the FBI Impartial? Over Half of Republicans Say ‘No.’ Allegations of Political Biases in Law Enforcement Can Hurt Democracy.

Washington Post (Monkey Cage analysis).

With Jonathan Ladd, Sean Kates, and Joshua Tucker.

Sept. 2022.

Technology & Political Communication

Relevant papers include:

  • A SAGE Open publication on Twitter bubbles

  • A working paper on foreign influence campaigns on social media. 

  • Work in progress about beliefs surrounding the invasion of Ukraine.

With my co-authors we have also explored new approaches for inferring ideology with clues from social media posts.

Toxic digital behavior

Why didn’t more congressional Republicans condemn Trump’s racist tweets about the ‘Squad’? (Washington Post, Monkey Cage analysis)

Donate To Help Us Fight Back: Mobilization Rhetoric in Political Fundraising. With Seo-young Silvia Kim and Brian Brew. APSA Preprint.

A working paper measuring preferences for content moderation in response to offensive content.

Joint work with Franziska Pradel, Yannis Theocharis, and Spyros Kosmidis.

Elections and Public Opinion

Work in this area includes:

  • An article on the predictors of beliefs that voter fraud occurred in 2020.

  • An article about voters' evaluations of Trump's record in office.

  • An article about the policy issues that voters remembered after the 2016 US presidential campaign.


I typically offer the following courses to MA students

Image by Michael

Political insurgents promise to address both legitimate and imagined grievances; in this course, we study how populists and other actors describe, imagine, and frame political events and institutions, and ask whether they create negative democratic evaluations or take advantage of pre-existing anti-establishment intuitions.

Campaigns, Elections, and Social Media

We  assess the effectiveness of various election campaigns in the US and in Europe. Sample lecture:

Telling Stories with R and Data Visualizations

Creating effective visualizations of social and political data can help you discover and communicate new insights. This is a course designed to help students become better communicators with R.



I value face-to-face conversations with readers, students, social scientists, journalists, and other people.

Even if we met a long time ago at a conference, I am happy to re-connect. And of course, if I should be aware of your work let me know even if our paths haven't crossed.​


Disclaimer: Please don't take it personally if you didn't receive a timely answer. Like you, I sometimes have to put out fires, or my inbox was jumbled when my nephew played with my phone...

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See you over at M.