Comparative Politics

Subfield Coordinator: Alison Post

Berkeley has a longstanding tradition of distinction in comparative politics. Members of the department’s comparative politics faculty are widely recognized as national and international leaders, and the department’s strengths have grown in recent years.

Coverage of substantive themes, methodological approaches, and geographic expertise is extremely broad. Comparative political economy, political regimes and regime change, political parties and organizations, and social mobilization are the subject of great interest among faculty and graduate students. Some comparative faculty and graduate students rely largely upon formal theory in their work. Some are highly proficient in quantitative methods, while others use case studies and qualitative methods. Many faculty and graduate students use multi-method approaches. The faculty emphasizes rigor of method—whether applied in formal, statistical, or qualitative work. All graduate students in comparative politics are expected to achieve proficiency in all methods prevalent in the field.

The faculty and graduate student population is diverse; no single theoretical orientation or methodology enjoys status as orthodoxy. Generally speaking, Berkeley comparativists pursue “big” questions that have broad implications for political life and public policy as well as social science. Such questions include when and why Chinese peasants resist unjust authority; why the Chinese economy has grown so rapidly and what other countries can learn from it; how transformations in the global economy are reshaping the welfare state in advanced industrialized countries; how economic structures and resource flows mold state and market institutions in the Middle East; why economic liberalization has proved difficult in Japan and how it may yet come about; why democracy is failing in Russia while working in Indonesia; why opposition forces succeed in forging electoral alliances in some African polities but not others; how party systems influence the provision of public goods across the Indian states; and how labor organizations are responding to transformations in economic policy in Latin America.

Comparative Politics Directory

Name Research Interests Contact
Thad Dunning Political economy, ethnic politics, and comparative clientelism in developing countries; research design, causal inference, statistical methods, multi-method research thad.dunning@berkeley.edu
Jason Wittenberg Eastern Europe & the post-Soviet region, quantitative analysis, religion and politics, electoral analysis, ethnic conflict witty@berkeley.edu
510 642-8407
Jonah Levy Political Economy, Western Europe, France, Globalization jlevy@berkeley.edu
+1 510 642-4686
Margaret Weir Metropolitan Politics, Social Policy, Comparative Welfare State, Public Policy, Political Sociology mweir@berkeley.edu
Christopher Ansell Public Policy and Governance, Organization Theory, Public Administration, Political Sociology and Social Network Analysis, European Politics cansell@berkeley.edu
Steven VOGEL Comparative Political Economy, Japan svogel@berkeley.edu
+1 510 642-4658
Henry Brady Electoral Politics & Political Participation, Management Information Systems, Program Evaluation, Social Welfare Policy hbrady@berkeley.edu
510 642-5116
David Vogel Environmental Politics and Policy, Business and Politics, Business Policy, Regulation vogel@haas.berkeley.edu
510 642-5294
George Breslauer Russia, Political Leadership bresl@berkeley.edu
510 642-4655
Kiren Chaudhry Political Economy, Middle East/North Africa, Identity Politics, Trauma Theory, South Asia chaudhry@berkeley.edu
510 541 1602
Gerard Roland Comparative Economics, Economic Liberalization, Legislatures, Electoral Rules groland@econ.berkeley.edu
510 642-4321
Pradeep K Chhibber Party Systems, South Asia, Electoral Politics, India chhibber@berkeley.edu
+1 510 642-8739
Jennifer Bussell jbussell@berkeley.edu
David Collier Democracy and Authoritarianism, Latin America, Concept Analysis, Qualitative Methods, Multi-Method Research, Comparative Politics dcollier@berkeley.edu
510 642-8168
Ruth Berins Collier Latin America, Comparative Politics, Political Regimes, Democratization, Labor rcollier@berkeley.edu
+1 510 643-8019
Lowell Dittmer East Asia, China dittmer@berkeley.edu
510 642-4674
Barry Eichengreen Comparative Economics, International Economics eichengr@econ.berkeley.edu
510 642-2772
M. Steven Fish Legislatures, Political Regimes, Regime Change, Religion and Politics, Eurasia sfish@berkeley.edu
+1 510 643-1943
Kevin O'Brien China, Social Movements, Protest Policing, Local Elections, Comparative Legislatures, Policy Implementation kobrien@berkeley.edu
510 642-4689
T.J. Pempel Japan, Asian Regionalism, Political Economy pempel@berkeley.edu
+1 510 642-4688
Alison Post Comparative Political Economy, Environmental Policy, Regulation, Urban Politics and Policy, Latin America aepost@berkeley.edu
510 642-1434
John Zysman Western Europe, France, Political Economy, State and Economy, Politics and Technology zysman@berkeley.edu
510 642-3067
J. Nicholas Ziegler Comparative Political Economy, Europe, Financial Regulation, Germany nziegler@berkeley.edu
Leonardo Arriola Democratization, Coalition Politics, Ethnic Politics, Political Violence, Sub-Saharan Africa larriola@berkeley.edu
510-642-5310