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The Australian National University

Professor Keith Dowding

BA(Hons) (Keele); DPhil (Oxon)
Professor of Political Science
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Public Administration 160509
  • Political Theory And Political Philosophy 160609
  • Urban Policy 160514
  • Public Policy 160510
  • Comparative Government And Politics 160603
  • Political Science 1606

Research interests

I am interested in supervising students in the areas of

•Public administration - especially politician-agency relations, public sector reform, Australian Politics - especially cabinet, career paths of politicians, federalism.
•Comparative Politics - all areas especially electoral systems, comparative legislatures, comparative executives, comparative party systems; collective action.
•British politics; all areas.
•Australian Politics - ministers; policy agendas. Political Sociology - collective action/mass mobilization; agency-structure; choice.
•Urban Politics - especially satisfaction with services, the Tiebout framework, competitive local government, fiscal federalism.
•Political Theory and Political Philosophy - analytic political theory, especially freedom, equality, power, democratic theory, theories of justice, rational choice theory, philosophy of social science.

Biography

I joined arrived at the ANU as Professor of Political Science in July 2007 from the London School of Economics since 1993 the last seven years as Professor of Political Science. Prior to the LSE I had held teaching appointments at Brunel University in West London and at the University of Oxford.

I received a First Class degree in Philosophy and Politics from Keele University in 1982, and a DPhil from Oxford University (where I studied at Nuffield College) in 1987. I was a Hallsworth Fellow at Manchester University in 1993-94, and Visiting Fellow at RSSS in 2000-01; Visiting Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) October-December 2007 under the Social Software Program. I held a British Academy Research Readership 2005-07. I was elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia in 2008.

I am the Chair of a network of scholars 'Selection and De-selection of Political Elites' (SEDEPE) who are interested in the career paths of political elites. I was vice-Chair at the Citizens' Income Trust in the UK an organization educating people about a Citizen's or Basic Income for all to replace all other kinds of social welfare assistance.

I edited the Journal of Theoretical Politics from 1996 to 2014. Since 2014 I have been Associate editor of Research and Politics.

Researcher's projects

All of my research is informed by the rational choice approach which I have found myself defending against misinformed criticism for many years. The funny thing is, I always thought I was a critic of classical rational choice.

Having a very short attention span I work on many different projects at the same time. My main research projects are:

The Careers of Cabinet Ministers
This project comes under the rubric of SEDEPE. My work so far has largely been concerned with ministers in the British government with a forthcoming jointly authored book Accounting for Ministers Cambridge University Press 2012 and largely concerned with accountability issues concerned with their selection, promotion or demotion and removal. These career concerns provide the bedrock for ministerial accountability in all its forms. Through SEDEPE we are enlarging the scope of analysis to countries around the world with a network of scholars collecting a dedicated dataset for comparative analysis, see Keith Dowdng and Patrick Dumont (eds) The Selection of Ministers Around the World, London: Routledge, 2015

We have data  on Australian ministers using Australian Research Council (ARC) grant for three years The Accountability of Australian Ministers 2009-2011, see Keith Dowding and Chris Lewis (eds) Ministerial Careers and Accountability in the Australian Commonwealth Government  Canberra: ANU Press, 2012. I am writing a book with Matthew Kerby and Jennifer Curtin on Ministerial Careers in Westminster Countries, and working with Elena Semenova on ministerial selection and de-selection in Eastern Europe.

Policy Agendas in Australia
The ARC Discovery Project held with Aaron Martin of Melbourne University has resulted in nine pulbication so far. Our book Policy Agendas in Australia is due out later in 2016.

Power and Freedom
I have long had an interest in the concept of power having written two books and many articles on it. The Encyclopedia of Power Sage was published in 2011. My book Power, Luck and Freedom: Collected Essays, Manchester: Manchester University Press is due out in 2017.

Satisfaction with Public Services
I have long been engaged with examining urban service-delivery (mostly with Peter John) our book  Exits, Voices and Social Investment: Citizens' Responses to Public Services Cambridge: Cambridge University Press was published in 2012

Methodology
My book The Philosophy and Methods of Political Science, London: Palgrave, came out in 2016 and with William Bosworth I am extending this worl on the methods of moral and political philosophy.

Current student projects

Chair

David Monk ‘Non-Majoritarian Institutions’

Tom Griffiths 'As Citizens May Think' (commenced February 2015)

Kelvin Lee 'Trust and Environmental Valuation: The Impact of Culture as a System' (commenced February 2015)

Lars Moen 'Republican Equality' (Commenced February 2016)

Panel Member

Evan Williams (Chair Juliet Pietsche)

James Cameron (Chair Ian McAllister)

Veronica Oxman (Chair Marian Sawer)

Ram Prasa Ghimire (Chair John Wanna)

Past student projects

 

Adam Packer ‘The Difference Constitutions Make: A Global Inquiry into the Impacts of Institutional Design' 2014

William Boswell ‘Concepts and Consistency in Political Argument’ 2014

Brad Taylor ‘Exit and Voice: Papers from a Revisionist Public Choice Perspective’ 2014

Andrew Klassen ‘Electoral Management Autonomy and Fair Elections: The Effects of Institutional Design on Public Perceptions’ 2014

Mhairi Cowden ‘Should Children Have Rights?’ ANU, graduated 2012

Michael Dalvean ‘The Selection of Ministers in the Australian Federal Parliament’, ANU graduated 2012

Matthew Laing ‘New Perspectives on Political Time: Populists, Prime Ministers and Perpetual Preemptionf’ (Chair Paul ‘t Hart), ANU graduated 2012

Joanne Lau ‘Culture and Obeying the Law’ (Chair Bob Goodin), ANU graduated 2012

Aaron Martin ‘Why Don’t Young People Vote? A Study of Advanced Democracies’ (Chair Ian McAllister) ANU, graduated 2010

Andre Alves ‘The Employment Effects of Welfare Regimes’ [with Valentino Larcinese] LSE, graduated 2009

Zsuzsunna Chappell ‘Deliberative Democracy and the Discursive Dilemma’ [with Christian List], LSE, graduated 2009

Rekha Diwakar ‘Determinants of the Size of Party in the Indian States’, LSE, graduated 2006

Daniel Rubenson ‘Is It Really about Bowling: How Institutions and Community Affect Participation in American Cities, LSE, graduated 2006

Stewart Astill ‘Networks that Form Policy: The Case of Pension Reform’, LSE, graduated 2006

Rotem Bressler-Gonen ‘Shirking and Shifting Policies: Uncooperative Political Appointees in Local Governments – the Case of Israel’, LSE, graduated 2005

Oliver Curry ‘New Evolutionary Ethics: An Adaptationist Account of Morality’, LSE, graduated 2005

Kennedy Stewart ‘“Persistent Losing” and Electoral Fairness in Four World Cities’, LSE, graduated 2003

Tom Quinn ‘Organizational Reform in the British Labour Party Since 1983’, LSE, graduated 2002

Oliver James ‘The “Next Steps” Agency Model in the UK Central Government 1988-98, with Special Reference to the Benefits Agency’ [with Patrick Dunleavy], LSE, graduated 2001

Yoav Schechter ‘Interests, Strategies and Institutions: Lobbying in the Pharmaceutical Industry in the European Union’, LSE, graduated 1999

Maijia Setala ‘Theories of Referendums and the Analysis of Agenda-Setting’ [with Brian Barry], LSE, graduated 1997

Andrew Hindmoor ‘Socialism and Entrepreneurship: A Rational Choice Approach to an Issue of Compatibility’, LSE, graduated 1996

Shlomo Mizrahi ‘A Theory of Constitutional Change: Game-theoretical Analysis of Socio-Political Processes in Poland, 1976-1981’ [with Brian Barry], LSE, graduated 1995

Publications

Projects and Grants

Grants are drawn from ARIES. To add Projects or Grants please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  28 June 2016 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers