EU4A5      Half Unit
Public Opinion in Europe

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Christopher Anderson CBG 6.05


This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe, MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe (LSE & Sciences Po), MSc in European and International Public Policy, MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in Political Economy of Europe, MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Political Sociology and MSc in The Global Political Economy of China and Europe (LSE and Fudan). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course provides a focused overview of the connection between citizen preferences and the political economy in European democracies. It will cover the contours and determinants of public preferences and how these shape and are shaped by political decision making, policy outputs and outcomes, and democratic institutions. Among others, it will examine public opinion about the quality and authority of political institutions and decision processes, as well as public policy preferences in areas such social and foreign policy. While the primary focus will be on European nations as well as the European Union, we will also compare public opinion across a wide variety of contemporary democracies.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 27.5 hours across Michaelmas Term.  This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of recorded lectures, flipped lectures (online discussion of lecture materials), and in-person and/or virtual seminars. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of the Michaelmas Term.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 presentation, 1 other piece of coursework and 1 other piece of coursework in the MT.

The formative coursework will take the form of a research design outline (500 words), a brief oral presentation, and a reaction paper (500 words).

Indicative reading

  • Alesina, Alberto, Rafael Di Tella, and Robert MacCulloch. 2004. “Inequality and Happiness: Are Europeans and Americans Different?” Journal of Public Economics 88 (9–10): 2009–2042.
  • Anderson, Christopher J. 2007. “The End of Economic Voting? Contingency Dilemmas and the Limits of Democratic Accountability.” Annual Review of Political Science 10: 271-96.
  • Anderson, Christopher J. 2009. “Nested Citizens: Macropolitics and Microbehavior in Comparative Politics.” In Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture, and Structure, ed. Mark I. Lichbach and Alan S. Zuckerman. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kumlin, Staffan. 2007. “The Welfare State: Values, Policy Preferences, and Performance Evaluations,” in Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior, ed. Russell J. Dalton and Hans-Dieter Klingemann. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Svallfors, Stefan. 2006. The Moral Economy of Class: Class and Attitudes in Comparative Perspective. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the period between MT and LT.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills