Department of Political Science

Dr Lucy Barnes

Dr Lucy Barnes

Associate Professor in Comparative Politics

Dept of Political Science

Faculty of S&HS

Joined UCL
1st Jan 2016

Research summary

Lucy’s research focuses on the politics of economic policymaking in rich, western democracies (including the UK). Her current projects encompass three main themes. First, the Mental Models and Political Economy project seeks to understand how people understand the economy, and how these understandings vary across different types of political actor (the public, policymakers, and journalists) and across countries (the UK, France, Germany, Denmark and the United States). Related work considers public views and experiences of risk and inequality through the lens of their treatments in political philosophy. 

Second, Lucy is interested in the politics of government budgets, and in particular how borrowing, spending and taxation are traded off against one another. Joint work with Ben Lauderdale and Jack Blumenau focuses on how to measure public attitudes in the context of these complicated trade-offs, and work with Tim Hicks seeks to understand the politics of austerity after the financial crisis, both in Britain and beyond. 

Finally, Lucy is particularly interested in the politics of taxation, especially in relation to redistribution and inequality.

Teaching summary

Lucy is on research leave in academic year 2019/20.

Previous UCL courses taught:


Democracy and Authoritarianism (formerly: Comparative Politics)
The Politics of Economic Policy (formerly: Comparative Political Economy)

The Politics of Economic Policy (formerly: Comparative Political Economy)

Big Books PhD Seminar (contributing faculty member)


Harvard University
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2010
Harvard University
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 2007
University of Oxford
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 2003


Lucy is Associate Professor in Comparative Politics. She joined the Department in 2016 from the University Kent, where she worked as Lecturer in Quantitative Politics. She studied Political Economy and Government (AM, PhD) at Harvard University, and Philosophy, Politics and Economics (BA) at Oxford. She has also held research fellowships at Trinity College, Dublin, and was Prize Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, where she remains an Associate Member. 


In 2019 Lucy became part of the first cohort of UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellows, winning four years of grant funding for her project on Mental Models and Political Economy.