EU4A5      Half Unit
Public Opinion in Europe

This information is for the 2021/22 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 International Migration and Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), 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 public opinion, politics, and 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 lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 25 hours across Lent Term. The teaching will be delivered this year through a combination of online and on-campus formats (or if required, online only). This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Lent Term.

Formative coursework

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

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 LT and ST.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: 45

Average class size 2020/21: 15

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

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