2012 Politics & IR / Economics PhD studentship in Elections, Public Opinion and Parties

Posted by bbp5 at Apr 11, 2013 09:45 AM |
The studentship will target, primarily, postgraduates resident in the UK and the rest of the EU with training both in economics and politics, and with an interest (as indicated by the specialisation in their Masters’ degree and dissertation) in the areas of elections, parties and public opinion. Deadline 31 May 2012

Strategic case

The study of elections, public opinion and parties cuts across several disciplines in the social sciences. At the University of Leicester there are scholars working on this area in several departments. The largest critical mass is, naturally, in the Department of Politics & International Relations (Ben Clements,  James Hamill, Karen Henderson, Stephen Hopkins, Philip Lynch,  Laura Morales, Alex Waddan and Richard Whitaker), but colleagues in Economics (Daniel Ladley, Francisco Martínez-Mora, James Rockey,), in Media and Communication (Jessica Bain, Paul Reilly, Stefania Vicari and Scott Wright) and in Sociology (Carlo Ruzza) also have closely linked research interests in this area. There is, thus, scope to start building bridges between these departments to create greater capacity in this area of research that might result in future collaborative interdisciplinary projects.

With this aim in mind, this proposal for a joint PhD studentship in Elections, Public Opinion and Parties wishes to promote this vision by building on existing and incipient collaboration between colleagues in the departments of Politics & IR and Economics. Ladley and Rockey have recently joined Laura Morales in her European Research Council Starting Grant on Governmental Responsiveness to Public Opinion to work together on agent-based modelling of the institutional, behavioural and social factors that shape how governments respond to public demands and pressure. Early meetings in relation to this collaboration indicated that there is much common ground in research interests, which  suggests that organising a regular joint workshop around the broad areas of elections, parties and public opinion could prove very fruitful for both departments. In particular, there are three areas in which people in both departments are conducting research, separately:

(1) elections and party competition,

(2) party/governmental ideology and policy formulation, and

(3) citizens' attitudes and policy preferences.

 

The award of a PhD studentship for joint supervision between Politics & IR and Economics in one of these three areas would allow us to expand our incipient collaboration in a number of ways. First, it would provide us with the opportunity to embark on longer-term collaboration that would signal internally (within both departments and in the College) and externally (among colleagues in Economics and Political Science in the UK and elsewhere) the synergies resulting from interdisciplinary collaboration in this area. Secondly, it would facilitate the organisation of a larger initiative with other departments (such as Media & Communication and Sociology) in the area of elections, public opinion and parties as the PhD student would help convene a workshop in this topic. Finally, it would allow us to explore better the scope for wider collaboration that might also extend to joint postgraduate teaching among several departments.

 

Outline of the PhD student project proposed, doctoral training and supervision arrangements

The studentship will target, primarily, postgraduates resident in the UK and the rest of the EU with training both in economics and politics, and with an interest (as indicated by the specialisation in their Masters’ degree and dissertation) in the areas of elections, parties and public opinion. Rather than indicating a closed and narrow dissertation topic in our recruitment advert, we would invite candidates to outline their own personal research proposal as long as it fits with one of the following lines of research: (1) elections and party competition, (2) party/governmental ideology and policy formulation, (3) citizens' attitudes and policy preferences. A joint Politics-Economics panel would select among the applicants the best candidate and best proposal that fits any of these three topical areas.

Depending on the specific topic of the dissertation proposed by the successful candidate, supervisors would be allocated from the Politics & IR and Economics departments. The first supervisor will be affiliated with Politics & IR, and the second supervisor with Economics. As this is envisaged as a truly joint dissertation studentship, both supervisors will meet monthly with the student (whenever possible, simultaneously) during term time. Potential supervisors, and their areas for supervision, are:

 

- Politics:

James Hamill (party politics and elections in South Africa), Karen Henderson (party politics and elections in East Central Europe), Stephen Hopkins (party politics in Northern Ireland), Phil Lynch (British parties and elections), Laura Morales (political behaviour, public opinion, parties and elections in western Europe), Alex Waddan (American party politics and policies), and Richard Whitaker (European Parliament parties and elections, party politics in the EU, and public opinion about the EU).

- Economics:

James Rockey (Political Economics, Applied Econometrics), Francisco Martínez-Mora (Local Public Economics, Fiscal Federalism, Political Economy).

 

The student would get access to training (postgraduate modules) in both departments. The final choice of training will depend on the qualifications and skills the student obtained in her/his prior undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, but we envisage that this might include (some of ) the following modules: Approaches to Political Research (Politics & IR), Research in Context (Politics & IR), Game Theory (Economics), Econometric Theory (Economics), Mathematical Methods for Economics (Economics). Additionally, the student would be required to attend the research seminar series of both departments.

In exchange for the studentship, the student would be expected to devote a small amount of time — not more than 8 hours per quarter— in helping to organise a quarterly workshop on elections, public opinion and parties (the Leicester Interdisciplinary Workshop in Elections, Public Opinion and Parties – LIWEPOP) that will be convened by Laura Morales. LIWEPOP will be launched to incorporate  colleagues working in other departments working in this area as well, and particularly Media & Communication and Sociology.

 

Type of studentship and financial contribution

We are seeking an award of a Full-time PhD studentship that includes Home/EU fees, stipend and RTSG for 3 years.

The department of Politics & IR will contribute towards the cost of the studentship by covering the cost of waiving the student’s fees for the 3 years, and the department of Economics will contribute the cost of the RTSG for the 3 years. Accordingly, the student would "sit" institutionally in Politics & IR, where the first supervisor would be located, while the second supervisor would be in Economics. The student would study towards a PhD in Politics.

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Contact Us

To contact the group or become a member, please email Luca Bernardi with your departmental affiliation, role (academic, post-doc, or PhD student), and main areas/topics of interest.

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