Todd Tucker

Todd N. Tucker is a political scientist and fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. His research focuses on political economy, democracy, and judicial politics. A recognized expert on trade and global governance, Dr. Tucker has testified before legislatures and expert committees around the world. His writing has been featured in PoliticoTime MagazineDemocracy Journal, the Financial Times, and The Washington Post.

He is author of Judge Knot: Politics and Development in International Investment Law (Anthem Press 2018). His other academic research has been published in books and journals by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Brill Press, and Edward Elgar. Prior to his doctoral work, he led research on international issues for Public Citizen and worked as an analyst at other think tanks. He was the principal investigator on several major grants, including from the Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and Sloan Foundation, which supported his research on The Rise and Fall of Fast Track Trade Authority, a co-authored book exploring over 200 years of history of U.S. executive-congressional relations on trade. Additionally, he has authored over 60 major reports, including The Sustainable Equitable Trade Doctrine and Seven Strategies to Rebuild Worker Power for Roosevelt.

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. Tucker received his B.A. from the George Washington University and his Ph.D. and M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Gates Scholar. He has taught at Johns Hopkins University and the University of New Hampshire. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Heather, where he enjoys hiking, punk rock, and comedy.


Todd Tucker in the News


The U.K. may overhaul shareholder rules. Companies are not happy, The Washington Post

How a Sex Offender's Case Before the Supreme Court Could Bring Down the Administrative StatePolitico

Toward an Institutional Turn on TradeDemocracy Journal

The rules of trade and of the global economy are failing too many. Due to false assumptions about the role of markets and the role of government in our economy, policymakers have narrowed their idea of international trade over the last 40 years, harming workers and hindering economic potential. By expanding our understanding of markets

To address the existential threat of climate change, the international community must come together and rewrite the rules. In a new working paper, Roosevelt Fellow Todd Tucker argues that a global Green New Deal—in tandem with a domestic Green New Deal—can both remake an international trade infrastructure in crisis and decarbonize the global economy in

After a few decades’ absence, industrial policy is back in the national conversation, with support from leading academics, grassroots movements, and politicians ranging from Sen. Elizabeth Warren to Sen. Marco Rubio. Despite its dormancy in the public debate, industrial policy and planning lie at the heart of many capitalist economies—and both should anchor the future

Tweetstorm on Trade

It has been a big day for NAFTA 2.0, and not in good way.  Here’s more—adapted from a twitter thread—on developments of the last 24 hours – including Pence’s Canadian visit, Lighthizer’s submission of NAFTA text to Congress, and Trump’s impetuous launching of a trade offensive against Mexico… Pence’s Canada trip seemed like a desperate

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Some of the most pressing challenges of our time—inequality and climate change—require bold proposals to set the United States and the world on a new trajectory. In Fixing the Senate: Equitable and Full Representation for the 21st Century, Roosevelt Fellow Todd N. Tucker explores five ways to realign the body with the functions it was

Over the weekend, the Trump administration announced plans to terminate the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to force a skeptical Congress to accept his repackaged 2.0 version. This risky gambit is based on a faulty premise: The executive branch lacks constitutional authority to roll back NAFTA’s implementing legislation. While the president can formally

The Supreme Court is facing a democracy deficit, where the number of justices and the length of their terms have created a Court that does not reflect the views of the American public. This point is underscored by the fact that four out of five members of the conservative majority were nominated by presidents who

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Is globalization good or bad for workers? One view sees it as an inevitable and desirable process of making economies more efficient: It may displace workers in the short run, but it has the potential to make them richer in the long run. Another view sees globalization as a net negative, leading to a loss

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Will the status-quo trade order survive, implode, or be reformed? From the campaign trail to his unrelenting tweets, President Trump has made clear that he thinks trade pacts are rigged against American interests, causing many to wonder about the fate of the liberal world order. Please join Roosevelt fellow and political scientist Todd N. Tucker and TIME Magazine’s Haley

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Last week, the Trump administration launched an unprecedented action to enforce the environmental rules in a trade agreement between the United States and Peru. According to the press release: “United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today directed the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to block future timber imports from a Peruvian exporter based on

As negotiators meet in Arlington this week to discuss the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Trump administration is again rattling nerves. While no formal proposal is publicly available, the U.S. Trade Representative is reportedly calling for stricter Buy America rules in government procurement, a five-year sunset clause (i.e. the agreement would not be renewed

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Boeing! Bombardier!! Bears!!!

From a casual look at today’s business headlines, you’d think the Commerce Department had declared war on the world. “The Commerce Department will slap stiff tariff on Bombardier’s new jet” “Bombardier hit with 219% duty on sale of jets to Delta Air Lines” “UK warns Boeing over Bombardier trade row” “Bombardier stock watchers bracing for

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Washington State workers got a Labor Day reprieve when the World Trade Organization sided with the U.S. over the state’s aircraft subsidies. But — after years of the U.S. trying to throw its weight around in the Geneva court — the result may be more mixed than it appears at first glance. What They Found Today’s decision reverses a

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On Monday, Congressional Democrats unveiled their Better Deal agenda to make “bold changes to our politics and our economy.” As my colleagues at Roosevelt have noted, the platform is strong on tackling anti-trust and monopoly power and on recognizing we are not yet back at true full employment. As the agenda acknowledges, there’s much left

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Last year, a World Bank tribunal waded into a long-running debate about how and when states can use a so-called prudential measures defense. While the decision (Rusoro Mining Limited v. Venezuela) was rendered in August 2016, I missed reading it at the time and have not seen any mention of this in the usual wonk

Late on Monday, the Trump administration released their long-awaited objectives for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). If it looks familiar to trade wonks, that’s because it is. In area after area, the Trump administration proposes to change the North American pact to make it more like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

On Independence Day, Two Ways International Law Tests Social Contracts In 1776, America declared economic and political independence from its colonial masters. Two-hundred and forty-one years later, American workers are still looking for economic enfranchisement in a world of global interdependence.  Two happenings in recent weeks illustrate how. CAFTA’s First Labor Case: Workers, 0; Capital,

The Trump administration started the clock on renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in its official notice to Congress on Thursday. Robert Lighthizer, Trump’s newly confirmed trade czar, said in a statement that this made good on Trump’s campaign critiques of the pact. Is this just more bluster, or can we expect

The following remarks were delivered to a congressional panel by Roosevelt Fellow Todd Tucker on May 3, 2017. Good afternoon, Leader Pelosi, Co-Chair DeLauro, Co-Chair Swalwell, and esteemed members of the Committee. Thank you for the chance to share some assessments on trade opportunities and challenges as you look to shape a better future for

The Trump administration’s decision last week to punt on labeling China a currency manipulator disappointed some of his supporters, but should not have surprised anyone paying attention to the policy details. Indeed, it’s a culmination of decades of a hyper-legalistic approach to economic strategy. Before delving into the details, let’s look at the basic economics.

It’s been a big week for President Trump’s trade policy. His various moves have been at turns cynical, interesting, and uncertain. We look at examples of each below. The Cynical: NAFTA On Thursday, leaked documents revealed that the administration’s version of Making NAFTA Great Again would make it more like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). NAFTA,

This week, Trump administration officials said they would prepare an executive order reviewing all U.S. trade deals. This would make good on Trump’s campaign pledge to push an overhaul of trade deals ranging from the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the 2016 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the latter of which Trump pulled the

U.S. foreign policy and the need to cultivate international alliances increasingly conflict with U.S. domestic politics, particularly with regard to trade. The 2016 election featured an outgoing Democratic administration insisting the Trans-Pacific Partnership was the U.S.’s last hope to show its commitment to the Asia-Pacific, a Republican candidate blaming it and other trade deals for

The Brexit vote demonstrated the limits of U.S. pressure. While the U.S. has a long history of intervening in votes in developing countries, recent years have seen a more widespread abandonment of neutrality. In 2014, the U.S. weighed in against the Scottish independence vote. This year, President Obama traveled to England to push Remain, and

Global Economic Governance 2.0

I’m pleased to be the newest fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, where my focus will be the ins and outs of global economic governance. I’m especially interested in how international treaties affect domestic law, politics, and economics—and vice versa. The moment demands big new ideas in this space. From investor-state dispute settlement, to the World

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