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Research Students (Comparative)

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Brian Aitchison

Brian Aitchison

The Influence of Small Business Groups on Legislative and Judicial Decisionmaking in Russia's Regions : This research project aims to examine the significance of small business associations in influencing regional and municipal politics in Russia. Stemming from a critique of state capture and collective action theories, it departs from mainstream academic discourse on Russia’s politico-economic development from epistemological and methodological standpoints, emphasizing the difference between national and local political dynamics, and utilizing a qualitative research design.

Interviews with local political and business leaders in the Tver’ and Lipetsk regions, which a recent analysis by OPORA, Russia’s largest association of small businesses, found to be the least and most favourable business climates for small enterprises, respectively, will be the primary data collection technique and will inform subsequent analyses. Ultimately, the aim of the research is to examine small business groups’ potential as democratic- and market-institution builders, and to reconcile that potential with the Russian executives’ national development objectives.
Supervisor: Dr David Woodruff
|Contact: b.aitchison@lse.ac.uk|
Personal website: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/aitchiso/ |

 Karabekir Akkonyunlu

Karabekir Akkoyunlu

Politics of Change in Hybrid Regimes: The Role of the Guardians in Iran and Turkey.
Supervisor: Dr Zhand Shakibi  & Professor Dominic Lieven
|Contact: f.k.akkoyunlu@lse.ac.uk| 


Carolyn Armstrong

Refugee Protection and Constraints on Free Movement: Explaining the Evolution of Regional Forced Migration Regime : This research looks at recent developments in regional level cooperation regarding forced migration. Faced with increasing numbers of asylum applications and an often volatile distribution of those applications between countries, states that share regional boundaries have started engaging in cooperative arrangements that attempt to better manage and control the flow of asylum seekers. Perhaps the most obvious examples of such cooperation are the Dublin system in the European Union and the Safe Third Country Agreement currently in effect between Canada and the United States. Both systems seek to prevent the phenomenon of ‘asylum shopping’ by designating the responsibility for processing an application for asylum to the ‘first country of entry’ and both have been labelled as ‘burden-sharing’ mechanisms by their designers. Since their introduction, these agreements have continually faced significant criticism in terms of their operational effectiveness, their legality and their normative desirability given their impact on individuals seeking protection throughout the EU and North America. Despite these criticisms, however, both agreements have remained fairly stable and show few signs of undergoing fundamental alterations. The actual design and negotiation of these agreements are also questionable in that it is not clear why these systems were designed based on the principles, parameters and omissions that they were, and it is further unclear as to why some of the countries involved agreed to participate in systems that would likely increase the costs and responsibilities attributable to them. While much of the existing literature has focused primarily on examining the content and criticizing the impact of these agreements, this thesis will instead seek to provide an explanation for how these regional forced migration regimes emerged, why they were designed in the way that they were, and how they have remained stable despite widespread doubts regarding their impact from both an operational and normative standpoint.
Supervisor: Eiko Thielemann
|Contact: c.armstrong@lse.ac.uk |

Gustavo Bonifaz   

Supervisor: Dr Francisco Panizza|
Contact: g.x.bonifaz@lse.ac.uk|

anita e brkanic

Anita E Brkanic

A Home Away from Home: the drivers behind Croatian Diaspora political involvement in homeland affairs:  My research is focused on the political role of Diasporas and seeks to answer why conflict-based arguments are insufficient to explain Diaspora mobilization. More specifically, it looks at the drivers behind Croatian Diaspora mobilization and explains why Tudjman's Croatian Democratic Union succeeded in cementing and augmenting the mobilization and political influence of the Croatian Diaspora in their homeland. I argue that the successful mobilization of the Croatian Diaspora was a product of collective action frames (diagnostic; prognostic; motivational). The political elites have made words their chief tools in spurring receptive audiences at home and abroad to action. Drawing on some recent theoretical literature, this study will provide a framework for understanding the dynamics and motivations behind the political activation and mobilization of Diaspora communities and examine how this process is triggered by homeland leaders' efforts to galvanize Diasporas in order to advance their own political or economic interests. This study thus argues that framing processes, alongside resource mobilization and political opportunity structures are crucial for understanding the nature, dynamics and scope of Diaspora mobilization and its consequent political influence. This research employs the frame analysis approach and thus intends to link the literature on collective action frames and framing processes with the research done in Diaspora studies.  
Supervisor: Dr John Hutchinson
|Contact: a.e.brkanic@lse.ac.uk|

Ken Bunker

Kenneth Bunker   

The Shift to the Left in Latin America: A Structural Explanation: This project explains the ideological shift to the Left in Latin American governments during the past decade. I argue that the shift is structurally founded on two different transitions: one economic and one political. The former is the story of the rise and fall of the Washington Consensus; the latter is the political opportunity seized by the Latin American Left elites towards the late 1990s. The first part argues that Washington consensus policies deliberately remolded right-wing ideologies in Latin America since the late 1970s; the shift to the left appears as a natural backlash to this movement. The second part argues that while the conditions—for the shift to the Left—were set by the severe deterioration of free-market policies, the timing and terms were given by the political strategies of Left wing elites. The final part describes the outcomes of this shift. I argue that three different roads have emerged within the current Leftist model: one populist, absolutist, and expansive (e.g. Bolivia, Venezuela); one based on moderate state intervention programs (e.g. Argentina, Brazil); and one heavily based on neo-liberal cornerstones (e.g. Chile).
Supervisor: Dr Francisco Panizza| & Professor George Philip
Contact: k.a.bunker@lse.ac.uk|
Personal Website: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/bunkerk| 

Gisela Calderon-Gongora

Gisela Calderón Góngora  

Party Politics and Schemes of Citizen Participation in Mexico City and State of Mexico: Authoritarian and Democratic trends in the Era of "Transition"
Professor George Philip
Contact: g.calderon-gongora@lse.ac.uk|


Ceren Coskun   

Supervisor: Dr Bill Kissane|
Contact: c.coskun@lse.ac.uk|


Ignazio De Ferrari    

Supervisor: Dr Francisco Panizza|
Contact: i.de-ferrari@lse.ac.uk|


Mariana Escobar    

Supervisor: Professor John Sidel|
Contact: m.escobar1@lse.ac.uk|


Luisa Feline Freier

Crossing the Atlantic in Search of New Destinations: Origin and Impact of African migration to Latin America. The bulk of the academic literature on African migration has in recent years focused on African migration to EU member states. While it is certainly true that most African migrants with overseas destinations currently live in Europe, recent trends suggest that African migrants, including both economic migrants and asylum seekers, are increasingly arriving in Latin America. What explains the surprising expansion of African migration to Latin America, and how to political determinants influence the new direction of these flows? 
Supervisor: Dr Eiko Thielemann| Contact: L.F.Freier@lse.ac.uk|

Alex Grainger     

Supervisor: Professor John Sidel|
Contact: a.t.grainger@lse.ac.uk|

Mohanad Hage-Ali 

Mohanad Hage Ali

Supervisor:  Dr Zhand Shakibi
Contact: m.a.hage-ali@lse.ac.uk|


Kathleen Henehan  

Affordable Childcare: Staggered Policy Development and Uneven Distribution across the "Liberal Welfare Regime”

Supervisor: Dr Jonathan Hopkin
|Contact: K.A.Henehan@lse.ac.uk|

 Corey Jentry

Corey R Jentry

The Troubles Studying The Troubles: Academic Discipline Or A Policy Community?

This project looks to illicit insights into the processes and practices of political scientists which account for the apparent transition of the Northern Ireland academic discipline of political science into a public policy community. It is interested in understanding both the trajectories of these practitioners work identities, as both political scientists and members of the public policy community, as well as the greater social and institutional variables which make this transition possible.

To examine and explain the processes and practices which account for this transition this research project looks to investigate the overarching question of: How does an academic discipline become a policy community? To better investigate this question it may be divided into the following sub-questions:

  • Has political science become more pragmatic and process oriented in a post-Cold War world and does this reflect a change in the positions of political scientists?
  • What are the roles of political science, and political scientists, in a peace process?
  • Does the advent of a peace agreement and the incentives (i.e. money, power, prestige, opportunities, etc.) attached to that agreement affect the ways in which knowledge is understood and approached by academics within a discipline?And if so,does the agreement over prescriptions for the conflict resolve differing perceptions towards the greater conflict and, therefore, result in a form of intellectual reconciliation regarding conflicting interpretations of the conflict?

Supervisor: Dr Bill Kissane|
Contact: c.r.jentry@lse.ac.uk|

Sasha Jesperson

Sasha Jesperson

Tensions in the Security-Development Nexus: Addressing Organised Crime in Sierra Leone and Bosnia-Herzegovina

Following on from Kofi Annan’s 2004 statement that ‘development and security have become inextricably linked’, the security-development nexus has become a fixture in international approaches to post-conflict reconstruction. External actors have been eager to bring their security and development policies together, creating new approaches, tools and institutions that blur the traditionally separate fields. While the security-development nexus is regularly invoked as a fixed approach to post-conflict reconstruction, a series of tensions influence how the nexus is formed.

Drawing on empirical findings from initiatives to address organised crime in Sierra Leone and Bosnia-Herzegovina, my research presents a comparative analysis of the security-development nexus in practice to explore the implications of these tensions.

Supervisors: Dr Denisa Kostovicova| and Mary Martin
Contact: s.jesperson@lse.ac.uk|

Pinar Kenanoglu

Pinar Dinc Kenanoglu

Supervisor: Dr Bill Kissane|
Contact: p.d.kenanoglu@lse.ac.uk|


Neil Ketchley       

Supervisor: Professor John Sidel|
Contact: n.f.ketchley@lse.ac.uk|

Ellie Knott.jpg

Eleanor Knott

Citizens and Compatriots: Comparing Russia’s kin-state policies in Crimea and Romania’s kin-state policies in Moldova: My research looks at Russia’s kin-state policies in Crimea and Romania’s kin-state policies in Moldova. In particular I am interested in the implications of using citizenship and quasi-citizenship as part of kin-states’ policies, which I examine from a bottom-up perspective.

Supervisor: Dr Denisa Kostovicova
|Contact: e.k.knott@lse.ac.uk||

Durukan Kuzu

Durukan Kuzu

Multiculturalism and Egalitarianism: Null Remedies to the Injustices of Forced Assimilation and the Elusive Ideal of Civic Nationalism. (The European Union, Turkey and the Kurds):  This study elaborates  Will Kymlicka's ethnocentric multiculturalism and Brian Barry's difference blind egalitarianism as theoretical approaches that seem to inform most states, international and supranational organizations in their efforts to find a liberal democratic solution for the problems of national minorities.  In this research, I focus on the remaining problems with these theoretical approaches to show why we still need a new insight to deal with problems of national minorities. In what follows, I focus on my argument with reference to the context that, I suggest, explains the failures of these specified theories. Identification of different contexts to be pointed out in this study is  made through looking at different types of  state nationalism to which national minorities had been previously exposed. Therefore the study  also examines the compatibility of multiculturalism with nationalism and suggests that one who tackles with this question would necessarily need to be sensitive to the different  types of nationalism and their implications.    In the process of contextualization , the process tracing method is used and the main case study of this dissertation,  the Kurds in Turkey is compared to the similar and contrast cases like the  Flemish in Belgium,  the Corsicans in France and the Muslim Turks in Greece.   
Supervisor: Dr John Hutchinson
|Contact: d.kuzu@lse.ac.uk|


Wei Ling Diane Lek

Chinese rural old age security in comparative perspective: My research project aims to explain differences in rural old age security arrangements across resource capable counties in China. The first part of my research takes on a national level perspective. It reviews theories on welfare regimes and assesses their applicability to the case of rural old age security in China. It then traces and compares broad developments in China’s rural old age security across two periods, the command economy period, and the period following economic reform. The second part of my research adopts a case study approach to investigate how rural old age security outcomes are shaped by the interaction of national level and local level factors. My research finds that differences in rural old age security arrangements can primarily be explained by the economic development path that a county takes. This path creates unique incentive structures that encourage the local state, the market, communities and households to adopt certain forms of rural old age security, but not others.

Supervisor: Dr Chun Lin |and Professor Stephan Feuchtwang|
Contact: w.l.lek@lse.ac.uk|


Barak Levy  

Supervisor: Professor John Breuilly
|Contact: b.levy@lse.ac.uk|


Mansoor Mirza     

Supervisor: Dr John Hutchinson
|Contact: m.a.mirza@lse.ac.uk|

Gustavo Moreno

Gustavo Bonifaz Moreno

From Unfinished Modernizations to a state crisis. The gap between legality and legitimacy in Bolivia: Since year 2000, and in the backlash of what appeared to be a stable and centripetal political party system, Bolivia experienced a period of deep political instability, characterized by: Presidential crises in which popular mobilization forced elected governments to resign their mandates; massive social protests and unrest, and warlike confrontations between civilians; a  sustained loss of legitimacy of representative institutions –parliament and political parties. Furthermore, as the crisis developed, the state itself began to be the subject of political contention; entering, thus, into a foundational legitimacy crisis. Finally, the crisis manifested itself in the openning of a gap between new sources of legitimacy (identity, regional and class oriented claims for a state re-foundation), and the constitutional structures in place in the country. The result was tha call for a Constituent Assembly.

What account for the crisis of the state and political institutions in Bolivia between 2000 and 2008? The present research aims to trace the process by which a gap between legality and legitimacy was opened in Bolivia, understood as the cause of the crisis. This, by revisiting and revising Samuael Huntington´s theory about the relation between social change and political institutions, or the political gap. In general, other analysis of the Bolivian state crisis foscuses on long term causes or continuities to explain the crisis (interethnic, class or territoral unresolved tensions). We believe that despite the importance of these factors, they tell just half of the story. It is the combination of social change and historicall long term continuities, or the projection of this particular type of political gap into a gap between legality and legitimacy, the best way to approach the question under study. 
Supervissor: Francisco Panizza
|Advissor: Jean Paul Faguet (International Development Department)

Suzanne Morrison

Suzanne Morrison     

Supervisor: Dr John Chalcraft
|Contact: s.morrison@lse.ac.uk|



Miran Norderland

Miran Norderland

Agenda-Setting in the Context of Real-Time Web Case Study: How Anglosphere Agenda Preferences Resonate with Global Public in the context of High Profile Events of Global Consequences: How information and news are produced, exchanged and most importantly, how they are prioritised critically affects the way we see the state of the world and how we, as societies come to understand what changes are needed. In the past five years we have begun to see a cultural shift through the advent of increasingly sophisticated Real-Time Web (RTW) and Social Media channels. Today, anyone can upload a video, write a blog, or disseminate information about the causes of the local and consequences of the global events. Consequently, as attempts are being made to establish the equilibrium between 'socially just' and 'economically and politically feasible' policies, the worlds of government, corporations, media, interest groups, activists and global public are increasingly facing each other within the social media arena. As such, the aim of this study is to preserve the relevance of the agenda-setting to policymaking process by investigating how national policy preferences, in the context of high-profile global events, resonate with Global Public Agenda in the realm of the Real-Time Web -- by observing Who says what; in What social media format; Who may be (un)intentional recipient of such information; and with What effect? Undoubtedly, the future of agenda- setting will rest in our ability to mirror societal changes and cultural shifts, whilst effectively harvesting the real-time information flow by tapping into the wisdom of crowds Public Policy and Real-Time Internet, Social Media Agenda-Setting and Real-Time Internet, Social Media Public Policy and Prediction Markets, Traditional Media vs. New Social Media.
Supervisor: Dr Martin Lodge|
Contact: m.a.norderland@lse.ac.uk|


Justine Zheng Ren

Explaining Contemporary Chinese Nationalism - Social Actor, Mechanism and Power
Professor John Sidel| 
Contact: z.ren@lse.ac.uk|

Robbins-Wright, Laura

Laura Robbins-Wright

The Contribution of Refugee Resettlement Towards Human Rights as a Global Public Good and Responsibility Sharing in the European Union.

 In 2010, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees advised that over 800,000 refugees will require resettlement in the long-term. My research examines how complementary forms of refugee resettlement contribute to the provision of human rights as a global public good from which all can benefit, and how the Canadian Private Sponsorship of Refugees program can be applied as a responsibility sharing model for asylum seekers in the European Union. My study considers: why there is a persistent global undersupply in refugee protection; how human rights constitutes a global public good; how complementary forms of refugee resettlement act as a mechanism for providing this good; the determinants of refugee resettlement policy in Canada and how these compare to the determinants of asylum policy in the European Union; and, how the private sponsorship model can be effectively applied in individual Member States. My objective is to expand the application and understanding of global public goods theory, to facilitate responsibility sharing in the European Union, and most of all, to develop a pragmatic and durable policy solution for persons in need of resettlement. asylum and immigration; Canada; European Union; public goods theory; public policy; refugees; resettlement; responsibility sharing

Supervisor: Dr Eiko Thielemann|
Contact: l.i.robbins-wright@lse.ac.uk|
Personal Website: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/robbinsw/|

Moritz Schmoll

Enforcing Taxation in Egypt: A Qualitative Analysis of State Capacity and State-Society Relations

Contact: m.schmoll@lse.ac.uk|

J. W. Christian Schuster

J. W. Christian Schuster

Merit versus Tenure? The Politics of Diverging Reforms of Latin America's Patronage-Based Bureaucracies : Why do reforms of patronage-based bureaucracies introduce merit-based personnel decisions in some instances yet tenure protections in others? Moving beyond a literature revolving around the occurrence of reforms of patronage-based bureaucracies, the PhD research seeks to shed light on diverging reform content choices through a comparative analytic narrative of reform episodes in Paraguay, Peru, Panama and the Dominican Republic. All four countries have subscribed to similar reform objectives in the 2003 Latin American Civil Service Charter and all four countries were diagnosed in 2003-5 to face comparable technical weaknesses in their public personnel management. Since then, each of the countries has embarked on civil service reform programs. Their implementation, however, has come to emphasize distinct elements of a Weberian ideal-type bureaucracy. While Peru and Paraguay introduced merit in part of their personnel decisions, Panama and the Dominican Republic focused principally on extending job stability to a substantial share of their bureaucrats. As its working hypothesis, the research posits that differential political incentives stemming from distinct modus operandi of the countries’ patronage systems – and the resulting differences in public and private goods that political powerholders may provide through them – loom large in accounting for the diverging reform choices and thus differential incursions into patronage powers.
Supervisor: Edward Page| & Francisco Panizza
|Contact:  j.w.schuster@lse.ac.uk |


Fabrizio Scrollini

Supervisor: Dr  Francisco Panizza
|Contact: f.a.scrollini@lse.ac.uk|

Randi Solhjell 

Randi Helene Solhjell


Power networks and legitimate authority in Weak States’: The Case of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: This project stems from an interest to challenge some common assumptions about regions, nations and societies associated with state weakness in sub-Saharan Africa. These assumptions suggest a political landscape of either chaos and anarchy or else autocratic or warlord rule. The political science literature on African politics has informed scholars on regime types and power networks, but it has for long been theoretical and state-oriented as the relevant narrative of understanding polity. These ‘actors and institutions’ that constitute a polity do not necessarily represent legitimate authorities in the cases of interest, but rather reflects a political reality often far removed from its people.


The purpose of this study is to deepen the understanding of power networks and conception of legitimacy through exploring authorities and the ruled in an area with weak formal government structures. The study will develop some understanding of circumstance that affect power relations between non-state and the state actors, as well as state-society relations that affect power and legitimacy. The aim is to contribute in theory-building on a less studied phenomenon in the post-war and statehood literature, namely what a ‘weak state’ actually consists of in terms of power and legitimate authorities rather than a sole focus on its deficiencies.
Supervisor: John Breuilly|, Tim Allen, Elliott Green
Contact: r.h.solhjell@lse.ac.uk|


Pon Souvannaseng 

Political Economy of Agrarian Change in Post-Socialist Southeast Asia

Supervisor: Dr Chun Lin
Contact: p.souvannaseng@lse.ac.uk|
Personal Website: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/souvanna|

Slobodan TOMIC

Slobodan Tomic

Supervisor: Dr Bill Kissane|
Contact: s.tomic@lse.ac.uk|

whiting matthew

Matthew Whiting

Defying Moderation? The de-radicalisation of Sinn Fein in comparative perspective : Sinn Féin has transformed from a revolutionary independence movement that supported the use of armed struggle to become a semi-constitutional political party, solely operating within the parameters of democratic political institutions. Whilst existing literature makes an important contribution to explaining how Sinn Fein has changed since its inception in the 1970s, it typically fails to disaggregate this process. This reduces Irish republicanism’s transformation to an overly simplified dichotomy between a radical violent movement and a moderate electoral movement. What is missing from the literature is an analysis of this transformation within the conceptual framework of ‘political moderation’. My thesis applies some of the most important and influential comparative theories of political moderation to this case, namely: (1) electoralism, (2) democratization, and (3) globalization. Additionally, the case of Sinn Féin has important lessons for the wider field of comparative politics. These dominant theories fail to take into account the possibility that small, ethno-nationalist parties may respond differently to moderating incentives from the context of larger parties in which most of the theories were developed. Ethno-nationalist parties operate in a more complex competitive space that includes cross cutting ethnic or regional cleavages that complicate parties’ strategic positions, potentially leading to a resistance to moderation. Therefore, this thesis will answer two key questions: 1) What is the explanatory power of comparative theories of moderation for the case of Sinn Féin in Ireland? and (2) Can existing comparative theories of party moderation explain adequately the moderation of small ethno-nationalist parties?

Supervisor: Dr Bill Kissane|
Contact: m.whiting@lse.ac.uk|