My research interests are at the intersection between comparative politics and political behaviour. I use quantitative methods and focus predominantly on Europe. My work is structured around three main themes.
1) The role of disability in political behaviour and representation
My most recent research explores the role of disability in political engagement and representation. In a study recently published in Political Behavior, I analyse the disability gaps in political orientations in Europe and some of their potential explanations. The conclusions are summarised in this blog post.
Moreover, with funding from a New Investigator Grant from the ESRC and a Research Incentive Grant from the Carnegie Trust, I study how voters perceive politicians with disabilities. Using conjoint experiments, I examine the effects of different disability types, intersections with other characteristics such as gender (with Sarah Liu), campaign strategies, and voters' characteristics.
In another study, I investigate whether politicians with disabilities better represent the views of citizens with disabilities, linking data on citizen and elite preferences.
Finally, I am working on a project for the UK Government Equalities Office together with Elizabeth Evans, in which we study the barriers to elected office that disabled people face in the UK. The project also evaluates the EnAble Fund, which supported disabled candidates run their election campaigns in the recent local elections in England.
2) Policy representation in Europe
Together with my colleagues from the GovLis project, I investigate the link between public opinion and public policy in Europe. One innovative aspect of this project is the focus on a diverse set of specific policy issues, from the minimum wage to adoption by same-sex couples. We investigate a range of potential predictors of policy representation. Our findings on the (non-)effects of institutions are published in the European Journal of Political Research (with Anne Rasmussen and Dimiter Toshkov).
Citizens' engagement in civil society organisations and interest groups can interact with public opinion to influence policy in different ways. We show how public opinion affects interest groups' advocacy success in our Comparative Political Studies article (with Anne Rasmussen and Lars Mäder). In another article in Comparative Political Studies, we demonstrate that in addition to competing for influence with the general public, civil society organisations also strengthen the link between public opinion and policy, no matter whether their views are aligned with those of the public.
I am also interested in whether policy represents the preferences of different social groups to equal degrees. In a recent article in the European Political Science Review, I show that women's preferences are not mirrored in public policy to the same degree as men's across Europe.
3) The effects of policy representation on citizens' political support and engagement
In my doctoral research, I showed that citizens whose policy priorities receive more attention from political elites are more satisfied with democracy and more likely to turn out in elections. These findings highlight that it is important to citizens that not only their policy positions but also their policy priorities are reflected by representatives. This work has been published in the European Journal of Political Research, Electoral Studies, and the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties. You can find my blog post about the EJPR article in democratic audit UK.
I am currently extending this research into two directions. First, how do issue priorities interact with policy positions when citizens form their perceptions of representation (with Zac Greene)? Second, does satisfaction with democracy react to changes in ideological congruence over time (with Heinz Brandenburg and Rob Johns)?