Valerie Belu

Valerie Belu

Fellow in European Politics

European Institute

Room No
Office Hours
Fridays 14.00-15.30
English, German
Key Expertise
Comparative Politics; Democratisation in Europe; International Relations

About me

Valerie is writing up her PhD at the University of Oxford on the Europe’s first wave of democratisation. She uses process-tracing to explore why some countries developed into stable democracies over the course of the “long 19th century”, while in others these regimes proved to be short-lived, collapsing back into authoritarianism soon after their creation. She provides a synthetic, actor-based theory of democratisation and democratic stability, arguing that to understand European political developments we need to consider the strategic interactions between actors. Conservative, Liberal and Labour parties made strategic choices which were mutually reinforcing, and which led to the emergence of either moderate or radical equilibria. The former could sustain stable democracy during the challenges of the interwar years; the latter could not.

Valerie’s previous research as a Knowledge Exchange Assistant at the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford explored contemporary constitutional changes in the UK, with a particular focus on the causes and consequences of the 2011 Fixed Term Parliaments Act. This research was published in BJPIR, Political Quarterly and Parliamentary Affairs.

Valerie was a Stipendiary Lecturer at St. Hilda’s College in Oxford in 2017/18 and 2019/20. She taught Comparative Government, Politics in Europe, and International Relations. Previously she earned an MPhil in Comparative Government and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, both at Oxford.

Expertise Details

Politics in Europe; Party Politics; Historical Democratisation; Institutional Change