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Dr David Hudson

Senior Lecturer in Political Economy

Dr David Hudson


Dr David Hudson is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy and the Deputy Director of the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP). His research examines the politics of development, coalitions, and leadership; public engagement with global poverty and international development; and the international political economy of development, particularly finance and migration. His work has been published in the the Review of International Studies, Political Studies, Journal of International Development, and Conflict Management and Peace Science as well as the book Global Finance and Development.

Current research projects involve fieldwork or data collection in Fiji, France, Germany, Jamaica, Myanmar, Rwanda, UK, and the US and uses a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, including survey data, network analysis, as well as experiments, text analysis, interviews and focus groups. He has held grants from the ESRC, British Academy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Leverhulme Trust. 

David is currently the PI or Co-I on 3 large research projects: (1) the Developmental Leadership Program (funded by the Australian Aid Program) with Dr Heather Marquette, (2) the Aid Attitudes Tracker (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) with Dr Jennifer vanHeerde-Hudson (UCL), and (3) Migrant Networks, Decisions, and Immigration Policy (Leverhulme Trust), alongside Professor Shane Johnson.

He has been a Visiting Research Fellow, Institute for Human Security and Social Change, La Trobe University, and a Visiting Fellow, Development Policy Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University.

David joined the Department of Political Science in June 2005. Prior to joining UCL he was an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Birmingham (2004-05). In 2013 he was a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow. 

Research Interests

International Development Committee

Aid under Pressure: Support for Development Assistance in a Global Economic Downturn

David Hudson gave oral evidence to the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee on 31 March 2009 as part of the Committee’s investigation into ‘Aid under Pressure: Support for Development Assistance in a Global Economic Downturn.’

The evidence builds on Dr Hudson and Dr van Heerde’s recent work on public opinion and development aid, which examines the assumption that public support for development assistance is fundamental to maintaining, and importantly, increasing current levels of aid. You can find more information about the written evidence and either listen to the oral evidence here or read the transcript here. This research follows on from a previous paper examining the motivations of individual-level support for development assistance forthcoming in Political Studies.

My current research is grouped into three core areas:

1. the politics of development, the role of coalitions and leadership in policy reforms and institutional change, and the use of more politically-informed approaches to development programming

2. public attitudes towards international development, engagement with global poverty, and issues of global citizenship

3. the international political economy of development, particularly around questions of governance, finance and migration

Politics of development and developmental leadership

Through the Developmental Leadership Programme (DLP), I am exploring how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development. 

The DLP is an international research initiative that focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development. 

This was work begun with the late Adrian Leftwich. The research is based around operationalising a 'political analysis' approach allowing policymakers and practitioners to be able to ‘think and work politically’. Some of this is published in open access research papers or practitioner volumes such as the OECD’s Governance Practitioners Notebook and the DLP paper Everyday Political Analysis

Ongoing fieldwork is chiefly in in East Asia and the Pacific, but also Africa. The projects I am involved with include the politics of inequality, the politics of private sector reform, the internal structure of development organisations, the role of power, political settlements, and attitudes, values and ideas.

Public attitudes towards international development 

I am interested in how the UK public feels about global poverty and international development. In particular what are the individual level drivers of support for official development assistance and development policy more generally? Is it a sense of charity, justice, self-interest? And what does support mean? Giving money, voting, volunteering, writing to your MP, educating? And finally, how do knowledge levels matter and the way in which governments and NGOs 'frame' global poverty matter?

I work with Jennifer vanHeerde-Hudson on these issues. As well as academic outputs we have given written and oral evidence on these issues to the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee and sought to engage with the development sector more generally.

I held a British Academy fellowship to continue this work over the course of 2103. Jennifer and I are now part of a cross-national 5-year project tracking attitudes towards aid and global poverty in France, Germany, UK and US (2013-2018). The project surveys the same people every 6 months and uses dynamic panel modelling techniques to understand when and why attitudes towards development change. Preliminary findings indicate that social norms, morality, and a sense of being able to make a difference are key drivers. We are augmenting the survey analysis with experimental work to see whether and how people’s attitudes can be shifted by providing information, reframing, different messaging, triggering different emotional responses, and varying the messenger. 

We are also working with Yannis Theocharis and Niheer Dasandi on a project collecting and analysing twitter data relating to the 2013 IF Campaign; and with N. Susan Gaines using experiments to test the role of emotions and moral considerations in donations and other engagement behaviour (link to a video); and with Heather Marquette and Caryn Peiffer on attitudes towards corruption.

International Political Economy of Development 

I also have an ongoing interest in the role the international system plays in supporting or blocking development. 

The 2015 book Global Finance and Development brings together the main debates about financing for development: looking at the possibilities, problems, and contradictions of different (public and private) sources of development funding.

I am currently exploring this and other areas through the lens of formal network analysis. Along with Alex Braithwaite and Niheer Dasandi, I held an ESRC Small Grant called Mapping the Structure of International Inequalities and the Poverty-Conflict Nexus. Niheer and I are in the process of editing the Edward Elgar Handbook of International Political Economy of Development. 

More recently I am working on a project with Shane Johnson, Cassilde Schwartz and Miranda Simon examining how migration decision making is influenced by the networks migrants are embedded in. We are interested in the effect that policy tightening does or doesn’t have on migration and whether this drives people to take greater risks and migrate through irregular channels. The project is based on ongoing fieldwork in Jamaica. We use a combination of methods: an agent based model, network analysis, and survey and a series of experiments.

Main Publications

Books and Edited Books
  • Hudson, D. (2015). Global Finance and Development. London: Routledge.
  • Baker, A., Hudson, D., & Woodward, R. (eds). (2005). Governing Financial Globalization: The Political Economy of Multi-Level Governance. London: Routledge. (Introduction and Conclusion).
Journal Articles
  • Braithwaite, A., Dasandi, N., & Hudson, D. (2015). Does poverty cause conflict? Isolating the causal origins of the conflict trap. Conflict Management and Peace Science, 33(1): 45-66.
  • Sajuria, J., vanHeerde-Hudson, J., Hudson, D., Dasandi, N., & Theocharis, Y. (2015). Tweeting Alone? An Analysis of Bridging and Bonding Social Capital in Online Networks. American Politics Research, 43(4): 708-738.
  • Jeff Waage, Christopher Yap, Sarah Bell, Caren Levy, Georgina Mace, Tom Pegram, Elaine Unterhalter, Niheer Dasandi, David Hudson, Richard Kock, Susannah Mayhew, Colin Marx, & Nigel Poole (2015). Governing the UN Sustainable Development Goals: interactions, infrastructures, and institutions, The Lancet Global Health, 3(5): 251-252.
  • Hudson, D., & Hudson, J. (2012). ‘A mile wide and an inch deep’: Surveys of public attitudes towards development aid. International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning, 4 (1), 5-23.
  • van Heerde, J., & Hudson, D. (2010). 'The Righteous Considereth the Cause of the Poor'? Public Attitudes towards Poverty in Developing Countries. Political Studies, 58 (3), 389-409.
  • Hudson, D. (2010). Financing for Development and the Post Keynesian Case For a New Global Reserve Currency. Journal of International Development, 22 (6), 772-787. 
  • Hudson, D. (2008). Developing Geographies of Financialisation: Banking the Poor and Remittance Securitisation. Contemporary Politics, 14 (3), 315-333. 
  • Soreanu, R., & Hudson, D. (2008). Feminist Scholarship in International Relations and the Politics of Disciplinary Emotion. Millennium: Journal of International, 37 (1), 123-151. 
  • Lee, D., & Hudson, D. (2004). The Old and New Significance of Political Economy in Diplomacy. Review of International Studies, 30 (3), 343-360. 
Book Chapters and Research Papers
  • Hudson, D. Marquette, H. and Waldock, S. (2016) Everyday Political Analysis. DLP Paper. Birmingham: Developmental Leadership Program.
  • Hudson, D. and Marquette, H. (2015). Mind the gaps: What’s missing in political economy analysis and why it matters. In Whaites, A., Gonzalez, E., Fyson, S. and Teskey, G. (eds). A Governance Practitioner’s Notebook: Alternative ideas and approaches. Paris: OECD.
  • Hudson, D, Dasandi, N, and Pegram, T. (2015). Governance and institutions. In: Waage, J and Yap, C. (eds.) Thinking Beyond Sectors for Sustainable Development (pp. 63–76). London: Ubiquity Press. 
  • Waage, J, Yap, C, Bell, S, Levy, C, Mace, G, Pegram, T, Unterhalter, E, Dasandi, N, Hudson, D, Kock, R, Mayhew, S. H, Marx, C, and Poole, N. (2015). Governing Sustainable Development Goals: interactions, infrastructures, and institutions. In: Waage, J and Yap, C. (eds.) Thinking Beyond Sectors for Sustainable Development (pp. 79–88). London: Ubiquity Press.
  • Hudson, D., & Leftwich, A. (2014). From Political Economy to Political Analysis. DLP Research Paper 25. Birmingham: Developmental Leadership Program.
  • Hudson, D., & Dasandi, N. (2014). The global governance of development: development financing, good governance and the domestication of poverty. In A. Payne, N. Phillips (Eds.), Handbook of the International Political Economy of Governance (pp. 238-258). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • O'Keefe, M., Sidel, J. T., Marquette, H., Roche, C., Hudson, D., & Dasandi, N. (2014). Using Action Research and Learning for Politically Informed Programming. DLP Research Paper 29. Birmingham: Developmental Leadership Program
  • Hudson, D., & Martin, M. (2010). Narratives of Neoliberalism: The Role of Everyday Media Practices and the Reproduction of Dominant Ideas. In A. Gofas, C. Hay (Eds.), The Role of Ideas in Political Analysis: A Portrait of Contemporary Debates (pp. 97-117). London: Routledge.
  • Hudson, D. (2007). Foreign Exchange Market. In M. Bevir (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Governance (pp. 318-320). London: Sage.
  • Hudson, D. (2007). Irrational Exuberance. In M. Bevir (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Governance (p. 500). London: Sage.
  • Hudson, D. (2005). Locating and Understanding the Marketplace in Financial Governance. In A. Baker, D. Hudson, R. Woodward (Eds.), Governing Financial Globalization: International Political Economy and Multi-Level Governance (pp. 62-84). London: Routledge.
Commentary and Miscellaneous
  • David Hudson and Jennifer Hudson (2015) Does talking about corruption make it seem worse?, The Guardian, Monday 22 June 2015
  • David Hudson (2015) Nigel Farage is wrong on the aid budget – but it’s an argument that’s worth having, The Guardian, 17 April 2015
  • Jennifer Hudson and David Hudson (2015) Who gives a … ? Development charity appeals, donations, and attitudes towards global poverty, UCL SPP Policy & Practice Seminar Series, 26 March 2015
  • David Hudson (2015) Video on the IF Campaign’s use of Twitter, Bond, 27 January 2015
  • House of Commons International Development Committee (2009) Aid Under Pressure: Support for Development Assistance in a Global Economic Downturn, 2 June 2009

Current Research Students

I am currently supervising five doctoral students (either as first or second supervisor).  Please follow the links for more information on the individual projects.

  • Dina Abdelazeem (commenced Oct 2014) – Dina is examining the politics of why and how decentralization became central to education reform discourse in Egypt.
  • Christiane Andersen (commenced Oct 2014) – Christiane is researching into how Indian non-national parties pursue their interests on the national stage, in particular through coalitions.
  • Miranda Simon (commenced Oct 2013) – Miranda is using an agent-based model to understand the complexity of migrants’ decision-making (Leverhulme Trust project funded).
  • Paolo Morini (commenced Oct 2012) – Paolo is using a series of experiments to test the role of celebrity endorsements on public engagement with global poverty (ESRC funded).
  • Donna Arrondelle (commenced Oct 2010) - Donna is examining the representations of public engagement in UK development policy (funded by a UCL Impact Award).

Previous research students, who have been awarded their PhD are:

  • David Karp (2006-2010) - 'Human rights responsibility and transnational corporations: an international political theory analysis' (funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada)
  • Nicole Salisbury (2006-2010) - 'The HIV prevention puzzle: Inter-organizational cooperation and the structural drivers of infection'
  • Maurice Wong (2006-2010) - 'The governance of financial derivatives in China: Policy convergence and explanations for change'
  • Raluca Soreanu (2007-2011) - 'A theory of outlaw emotions: Post-heroic creativities and disciplinary change in International Relations' (funded by a UCL Graduate School Research Scholarship)
  • Cathy Elliott (2008-2012) - 'The blackmail of democracy: A genealogy of British/Pakistani democracy promotion' (ESRC funded)
  • Niheer Dasandi (2008-2013) – ‘International Inequality and World Poverty: A Quantitative Structural Analysis’ (ESRC project funded)
  • Barbara Sennholz-Weinhardt (2008-2014) – ‘Ideas and power in financial regulation : the case of the British hedge fund industry’ (funded by a Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft scholarship)
  • Ivica Petrikova (2010-2015) - Ivica is researching into the effectiveness of different aid modalities in reducing food insecurity (UCL Graduate School Research Scholarship).

More information on David Hudson

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Page last modified on 06 jun 16 15:11

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