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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

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