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Nicole Ford, Ph.D.



University of Tampa

Year of PhD: 2017

Phone: 8137865715

Country: United States (Florida)

About Me:

Currently, I am teaching Comparative Politics at the University of Tampa.  I received my Ph.D. from the University of South Florida, School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies in Comparative Politics. My field of expertise is Russia and the post-Soviet Sphere/ Eastern Europe and the Caucasus region. I am also an expert on democratic systems and democratization more broadly, as well as democratic backsliding towards authoritarianism or breakdown.  Methodologically, I am versed in both frequentist and Bayesian methods using R, Stata, LaTeX, and beginning ArcGIS. 

In a past life, I've interned for Former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) where I did research for the Senator for legislation on Big Sugar and helped with constituent interfacing. I've also worked with  The United Nations, Department of Political Affairs in the NE Asia division during the Gulf War and developed nuclear threat assessments on DPRK.  I completed field research and language training in Moscow, Russia. I am also a former United States Marine.  
I was a panel participant in the United Nations Association: UN Millennium Development Goals 2013 in Tampa. While in Rochester, I was a Visiting Ph.D. Student Scholar at the University of Rochester. 
Recently, I have been a peer-reviewer for American Journal of Political Science and Political Behavior.  

Research Interests

Comparative Democratization

Post-Communist Politics

Non-Democratic Regimes

Comparative Political Institutions

Research Methods & Research Design

Political Psychology

Social Trust

Institutional Trust



Political Culture

Democratic Backsliding

Russian Politics


Post-Soviet Countries

Central Eastern Europe

Countries of Interest


Czech Republic


Former Soviet Union




My Research:

I created a new multi-level measure for social trust using World Values Survey (WVS) data by combining the "generalized trust" question with the "particularized trust" question to create a more dynamic measure that better reflects the true nature of how humans trust. The new measure has three-levels:  Generalized, Particularized, and a new "Other" level.  A Bayesian HLM tested how different levels of trust impact democratic support in five nations of Central/Eastern Europe/ the former USSR, controlling for country-level trust in institutions, across waves 5 & 6. It was discovered, contrary to previous research, particularized trust can have positive impacts on democratic support.

My research also suggests negative "trust in institutions" does not have a negative impact on social trust at the individual level in the post-Communist sphere, contrary to current thought.

I am currently (Spring/ Summer 2021) updating this research for the region and adding the new WVS Wave 7 data just released last year.

I am interested in properly quantifying social trust beyond the borders of the former USSR. As such, testing the generalizability of the new measure in all 43 nations of the WVS will follow.

I am also interested in Chechnya and relations between the state and its people, as well as the spread of Wahhabism in the region, and its relation to global jihadist ideologies vs ethnic nationalism.


Book Chapters:

(2018) "Adat" in Global Encyclopedia of Informality, University College London Press

Global Encyclopedia of Informality, with Alena Ledeneva, et. al. as part of a collaborative effort of political scientists for the FP7 ANTICORRP project: Global Encyclopedia of Informality, University College London Press in 2018. Specifically, my entry is on Adat, or informal customary practices in the North Caucasus region, particularly Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and Chechen diaspora. It describes adat cultural practices, and how adat is used to circumvent Russian Federal legal authority in the region.


(2020) ‘Muzzle Law’ Ends Poland’s Ability to Call Itself a Democracy, The Globe Post

Analysis on Poland's continued dismantling of the independent judiciary.

(2019) Has the ‘Soaring Polish Eagle’ Become a Renegade?, The Globe Post

Answers questions surrounding Poland's conflicts with Brussels regarding the rule of law, infringements on public media, immigration, & human rights.

(2019) ‘Trotsky’ Is an Icepick to the Heart of Soviet History, Foreign Policy

Analysis of Russia 1's series "Trotsky" appearing on Netflix.

(2018) Two Moscow teens were released from jail after thousands protested in the streets. Here are 5 things you need to know., The Washington Post

Analysis on the arrest of two teenage girls in March, the mass protests in August to release them, accusations of FSB provocation, & the future of civil society in Russia.

Media Appearances:

TV Appearances:

(2018) WFLA

I was asked to speak regarding the upcoming Trump - Putin summit in Helsinki, as well as the election interference in the 2016 election on their Sunday morning political show before Meet the Press.