Department of Political Science


Comparative Politics 


Scholars of comparative politics in the Department of Political Science represent a wide range of expertise on domestic politics in Britain and around the world. With an emphasis on cross-national comparison, comparativists at UCL engage with prevailing theoretical debates in academia and public life, bringing a varied array of rigorous empirical methods to bear on political processes.  The Department produces leading research examining political conflict; Britain’s constitution in comparative perspective; the emergence, variety and functioning of democratic institutions; and the interaction of politics and economics. 

Research Themes

Democratic Institutions

" The study of democratic institutions at UCL focuses on the emergence, change and variety of political organisations: national and supranational institutions in established democracies and democratising states.

We are interested in the causes and consequences of political institutional variation across a wide range of substantive areas and global regions. Methodologically, we draw on a wide range of approaches including leading qualitative and quantitative empirical techniques. Our expertise spans a number of research themes across national and EU political and legal institutions. These topics include democratisation, legitimacy, federalism, parliaments, electoral systems and party organisation, and the interaction of political institutions with civil society. The Department is also home to The Constitution Unit, which provides timely, rigorous, independent research into constitutional change and the reform of political institutions for both scholars and practitioners in the UK and around the world.

Political Economy

The Political Economy group studies the interactions between politics and economics.We are interested in the causes, dynamics, and consequences of economic policies, from a comparative perspective. Methodologically, we draw on a diverse set of tools: archival research and interviews, large-n statistics, experiments, and Big Data approaches to provide systematic analyses of policy-oriented issues and theoretically driven puzzles. The group unites experts on research themes across political economy: international trade, foreign investment, multinational corporations, fiscal policy and taxation, public-private management, economic inequality, privatisation, foreign aid, welfare politics, and the EU.

Relevant Faculty
Kristin M. Bakke Tom Pegram
Lucy Barnes Colin Provost
Alex Hartman Christine Reh
Robert Hazell Alan Renwick
Tim Hicks Meg Russell
Jennifer van Heerde-Hudson Sherrill Stroschein
Roland Kappe Lisa Vanhala
Neil Mitchell  

Ongoing Funded Projects

“Attitudes for Peace: Post-Conflict Public Opinion”

Funder: Norwegian Research Council

Collaborators: Karin Dyrstad (SINTEF), Helga Malmim Binningsbø (Peace Research Institute Oslo), and Arne Eide (SINTEF).

Lucy Barnes

“Budget Information Effects on Voters”

Funder: Omidyar Network

Collaborators: Ethan Porter (University of Chicago), Jake Haselswerdt (University of Michigan), Avi Feller (University of California, Berkeley)

Jennifer Hudson

Project: Aid Attitudes Tracker (2013-2018)

Funder: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Collaborators: Jennifer vanHeerde-Hudson (UCL), David Hudson (UCL), Joe Twyman (YouGov), Marianne Stewart (University of Texas, Dallas), Harold Clarke (University of Texas, Dallas), Will Tucker (Will Tucker Consulting)

“Representative Audit of Britain (2015-2017)”

Economic and Social Research Council

Collaborators: Rosie Campbell (Birkbeck), Jennifer vanHeerde-Hudson (UCL), Wolfgang Rudig (Strathclyde), Joni Lovenduski (Birkbeck), Maria Sobolewska (Manchester), Caitlin Milazzo (Nottingham), Peter Allen (Queen Mary), Sarah Childs (Bristol)

“RepStyle: A New Style of Representation? (2015-2018)”

Funder: Sapere Aude (Denmark)

Collaborators: Helene Helboe Pedersen (Aarhus), Jennifer vanHeerde-Hudson (UCL), Rosie Campbell (Birkbeck), Troels Bøggild (Aarhus)


Constitution Unit

Global Governance Institute

European Studies Institute