Dr Alex Waddan

Dr Alex Waddan

Associate Professor in American Politics and American Foreign Policy

Contact details

  • Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2700
  • Fax: +44 (0)116 252 5082
  • Email: aw148@leicester.ac.uk
  • Office: Attenborough Tower 1006

Personal details

  • BA (Oxford)
  • MA
  • PhD (Manchester)

I am also a member of the Centre for American Studies


Undergraduate modules

  • Introduction to American Politics
  • American Foreign Policy After the Cold War
  • American Political development
  • The American Presidency

Postgraduate Teaching

  • US Interventions Since 1993



Daniel Béland, Philip Rocco and Alex Waddan, Obamacare Wars: Federalism, State Politics, and the Affordable Care Act . Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016 https://kuecprd.ku.edu/~upress/cgi-bin/978-0-7006-2191-0.html

Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan, The Politics of Policy Change, Welfare, Medicare and Social Security Reform in the United States, Georgetown University Press, 2012.


Clinton's Legacy? Alex Waddan, Clinton's Legacy? A New Democrat in Governance, Palgrave, 2002

Alex Waddan, The Politics of Social Welfare, Edward Elgar, 1997


Recent journal articles and chapters

  • Daniel Beland and Alex Waddan (2000), 'From Thatcher (and Pinochet) to Clinton? Conservative Think Tanks, Foreign Models and US Pensions Reform' Political Quarterly, 71, (2), April-June 2000, pp.202-10.

  • Daniel Beland and Francois de Chantal and Alex Waddan, (2002), 'Third Way Social Policy: Clinton's Legacy?'Policy and Politics, January 2002, 30, (1),:19-30.

  • Alex Waddan (2003) 'Redesigning the Welfare Contract in Theory and Practice: Just What is Going on in the USA'Journal of Social Policy, 32, (1), 19-35.

  • Alex Waddan (2004), 'Mixed Messages from the USA: the Impact of Sanctions in Welfare-to-Work' Benefits, 12, (1) January 2004.

  • Daniel Beland and Alex Waddan 'The Social Policies Presidents Make: Pre-emptive Leadership Under Nixon and Clinton'  Political Studies, April 2006 54, (1): 65-83.

  • Alex Waddan (2006) 'Whither Blue America?' in Right On? political change and continuity in George W. Bush's America, edited by Iwan Morgan and Philip Davies (Insitute for the Study of the Americas, 2006).

  • Douglas Jaenicke and Alex Waddan, (2006) 'Recent Incremental Health care Reforms in the US: a way forward or false promise?'Policy and Politics, April 2006, 34, (2): 241-264.

  • Douglas Jaenicke and Alex Waddan, (2006) 'President Bush and Social Policy: The Strange Case of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit' Political Science Quarterly, Summer 2006 121,(2): 217-240.

  • Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan (2007) 'Conservative Ideas and Social Policy in the United States' , Social Policy and Administration, 41, (7): 768-786.

  • Alex Waddan, (2007) 'Immigration, Social Policy and Politics in the United States' in The Politics, Economics, and Culture of Mexican-US Migration: Both Sides of the Border, edited by Eddie Ashbee, Helene Bayley Clausen and Carl Pedersen (Palgrave, Macmillan: New York, 2007).

  • Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan (2008) 'Taking Big Government Conservatism Seriously? The Bush Presidency Reconsidered', The Political Quarterly, 79, (1): 109-118.

  • Douglas Jaenicke and Alex Waddan, (2008) 'The Politics and Policy of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program'  in I. Morgan and P. Davies eds, The Federal Nation (New York: Palgrave) 2008, pp.147-166.

  • Alex Waddan (2009) 'The Politics of Aging' in A. Wroe and J. Herbert eds Assessing the George W Bush Presidency: A Tale of Two terms, (Edinburgh University Press), 2009, pp.166-181.

  • Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan (2010) 'The Politics of social policy change: lessons of the Clinton and Bush presidencies'Politics and Policy, 38, (2):217-33 .

  • Eddie Ashbee and Alex Waddan (2010) 'The Obama Administration and US Trade Policy' The Political Quarterly, 81,(2): 253-62.

  • Alex Waddan (2010) 'The US Safety Net, Inequality and the Great Recession'The Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 18,(3),: 243-254.

    Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan. (2011). “Social Policy and the Recent Economic Crisis in Canada and the United States” in Kevin Farnsworth and Zoë Irving (eds.), Social Policy in Challenging Times: Economic Crisis and Welfare Systems. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 231-249.

    Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan, (2011) “Ideen und Sozialpolitischer Wandel: Konzeptionelle Überlegungen am Beispiel der USA,” Zeitschrift für Sozialreform, 57(4): 463-485.

    Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan. (2012). “The Great Recession and US Social Policy: From Expansion to Austerity” in Majella Kilkey, Gaby Ramia and Kevin Farnsworth (eds.), Social Policy Review 24: Analysis and Debate in Social Policy. 2012, Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 277- 296.

    Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan. (2013). “Health Politics and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” in John Dumbrell (ed.), Issues in American Politics: Polarized Politics in the Age of Obama. New York: Routledge, pp. 44-56.

    Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan. (2013). “The New Politics of Austerity in the United Kingdon and the United States” in Guðmundur Jónsson and Kolbeinn Stefánsson (eds.), Retrenchment or Renewal? Welfare States in Times of Economic Crisis. Helsinki: NordWel Studies in Historical Welfare State Research, pp. 87-105

    Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan. (2014). “The Affordable Care Act: Cure or Train Wreck?” in Clodagh Harrington (ed.), Obama’s Washington: Political Leadership in a Partisan Era. London: Institute for the Study of the Americas (University of London), pp. 113-134

  • Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan, (2014) “Conservatives, Partisan Dynamics, and the Politics of Universality: Reforming Universal Social Programmes in the United Kingdom and Canada,” Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, Vol. 22No. 2, 2014: 83-97

  • Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan, (2014) “Policy change in flat pensions: Comparing Canada and the UK,” Canadian Public Administration, Vol. 57, No. 3, 2014: 383-400

    Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan. 2014. “What Third Way? Clinton, New Democrats, and Social Policy Reform” in Richard Himelfarb and Rosanna Perotti (ed.), A True Third Way? Domestic Policy and the Presidency of William Jefferson Clinton. New York: Nova Publishers, pp. 101-111.

  • Daniel Béland, Paula Blomqvist, Jørgen Goul Andersen, Joakim Palme and Alex Waddan (2014), “The Universal Decline of Universality? Social Policy Change in Canada, Denmark, Sweden, and the UK,” Social Policy & Administration, 48(7): 739-756

  • Daniel Béland, Philip Rocco, and Alex Waddan, (2014) “Implementing Health Care Reform in the United States: Intergovernmental Politics and the Dilemmas of Institutional Design,” Health Policy, 116(1): 51-60

  • Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan (2014), “Fédéralisme, logiques partisanes et mise en œuvre de la réforme de l’assurance maladie aux États-Unis,” Politique américaine, n° 23: 93-109
  • Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan (2015), “Breaking Down Ideas and Institutions: The Politics of Tax Policy in the U.S. and the U.K.,” Policy Studies, 36(2): 176-195
  • Daniel Béland, Philip Rocco, and Alex Waddan (2015), “Polarized Stakeholders and Institutional Vulnerabilities: The Enduring Politics of the Affordable Care Act,” Clinical Therapeutics, 37(4): 720-726
  • Daniel Béland, Philip Rocco, and Alex Waddan (2016), "Reassessing Policy Drift: Social Policy change in the United States",  Social Policy & Administration, 50 (2): 201-218
  • Daniel Béland, Philip Rocco, and Alex Waddan (2016), "Obamacare and the Politics of Universal Health Insurance Coverage in the United States",  Social Policy & Administration, 50 (4): 428-451
  • Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan (2017), "Why are there no universal social programs in the United States", World Affairs Journal, 180 (1): 64-92
  • Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan. 2018. “Un bilan synthétique de l’évolution de la protection sociale aux États-Unis sous la présidence Obama,” Politique américaine, 30: 83-103.


My research has primarily been concerned with US politics and particularly the development of American social policy. I have looked extensively at the causes and consequences of the major reform of the US welfare system in 1996. This reform ended a welfare entitlement and made access to welfare benefits conditional on a willingness to engage with the world of work.

In addition I have looked at the development of the American health care system and have examined the potential and limits of the process of incremental health care reform. A central focus of the work is to investigate the relationship between ideas and institutions as an explanation for policy change or policy inertia.

In collaboration with Professor Daniel Beland from the University of Saskatchewan and Philip Rocco, who is based at the Health Policy Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, I have recently completed a manuscript examining the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (better known as "Obamacare").

In addition to this focus on US social policy I have written extensively about the Clinton presidency and his efforts to develop a 'Third Way' in US politics and policy. This work examined how Clinton's initially ambitious agenda was whittled down as he encountered both ideological and institutional obstacles. In the end, while Clinton was able to devise strategies that secured his own political survival he could not map out a new political philosophy that will stand as a long-term Third Way legacy.

Current research

My current research focuses on the continuing shifts in American social policy. Sometimes this is achieved through direct legislation as in the 1996 welfare reform. In other cases, where the institutions of the welfare state have greater support and hence a popular legitimacy that is difficult to challenge explicitly, change comes about more discretely as existing programmes are not updated to meet with changing circumstances. This work also notes, however, that the institutions of the welfare state are sometimes resilient and that some efforts to bring about change end in failure. Hence, a key part of this research project is to understand which factors lead to policy change and which encourage policy continuity. In this context, I am looking at whether the English health care system is being 'privatised'.


I am keen to supervise postgraduate work on most aspects of contemporary American politics, particularly research examining:

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Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2702
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