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Prof Geoff Evans
DPhil Experimental Psychology (Oxon)
Role : Official Fellow in Politics; University Professor; Editor, Electoral Studies
Job Title : Official Fellow
Academic Group : Politics
College Group : Politics, Sociology
University Department : Department of Politics and International Relations
Research Interests : Social inequality & political representation. Social & psychological influences on political preferences. Institutional contexts & party competition.
Nuffield College
New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom


Biographical Sketch

My research examines the relationships between social inequality and political representation. Much of it focuses on the consequences of the choices parties offer voters. Relating to these themes, I've just finished an OUP book with James Tilley on how the British working class has been excluded from mainstream politics.

I'm also interested in the relationships between voters' perceptions and values and their political choices. On this theme, after more than 20 years studying public opinion on the EU, I recently became director of the ESRC-funded EU Referendum Study (with Anand Menon) based at Nuffield.  

I am also co-director of the ESRC-funded 2015 British Election Study (2014-2017), the Scottish Referendum Study (2014-2016), and the Northern Ireland Election Study (2015-2017).

My most recent book is: Evans G. & De Graaf, N.DPolitical Choice Matters: Explaining the strength of class and religious cleavages in cross-national perspective, Oxford University Press, 2013.​

More information on my research is given below...

Research Interests

Current topics with selected recent publications:
Class, inequality and politics:

Evans, G & Mellon, J. 2015. ‘Working class votes and Conservative losses: solving the UKIP puzzle’, Parliamentary Affairs, 68 (online in March).​

Evans G & Tilley J. 2015. The New class war: excluding the working class in 21st century Britain, Juncture, 21(4): 265-71.

Rennwald L. & Evans G. 2014. ‘When Supply Creates Demand: Social-democratic parties’ electoral strategies and the evolution of class voting’ West European Politics. 37(5): 1108-35.​

Janssen, G. Evans, G & De Graaf N.D. 2013. Class voting and left-right party positions: A comparative study of 15 western democracies, 1960-2005. Social Science Research, 42: 376-400. 
Evans, G. & Tilley, J. 2012. The depoliticization of inequality and redistribution: Explaining the decline in class voting. The Journal of Politics, 74: 963-976.
Evans G. & Tilley J. 2012, Private schools and public divisions: the influence of fee-paying education on social attitudes, British Social Attitudes, 28th Report: 37-52.
Evans, G. & Tilley, J. 2012. How parties shape class politics: Explaining the decline of the class basis of party support, British Journal of Political Science, 42: 137-161.
Evans, G. 2010.Models, Measures and Mechanisms: An agenda for progress in cleavage research’, West European Politics, 33: 634-647. Reproduced in S. Enyedi & K. Deegan-Krause, eds., The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe, London: Routledge.
Perceptions, attitudes and political choices:
Evans, G & Mellon, J. 2015. 'The political popularity contest', ​Significance, April.​

Pickup M. & Evans G. 2013. Addressing the endogeneity of economic evaluations in models of political choice.  Public Opinion Quarterly, 77: 735-754.​

Lalljee, M. Evans, G., Sarawgi, S. & Voltmer, K. 2013. Respect your Enemies: Orientations towards political opponents, political participation and attitudes towards civil liberties International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 25: 119-31.
Social and political divisions in transition societies:
Evans G. & Northmore-Ball, K. 2012. The Limits of Secularization Theory? The Resurgence of Orthodoxy in Post-Soviet Russia, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 51: 795-808.
Evans, G. & Rose, P. 2012. Understanding Education’s Influence on Support for Democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa, Journal of Development Studies, 48: 498-515.
Horvat P. & Evans G. 2011. Age, inequality and reactions to marketization in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe, European Sociological Review, 27: 708-727. 
The evolution of political divisions in Northern Ireland:
Tilley, J. & Evans, G. 2011. The Emerging Electoral Supremacy of ‘Hard Line’ Parties in Northern Ireland: The Role of Political Generations. European Journal of Political Research, 50: 583-608.
Mitchell, P., Evans, G. & O’Leary, B. 2009. ‘Extremist Outbidding In Ethnic Party Systems Is Not Inevitable: Tribune Parties in Northern Ireland’. Political Studies, 57: 397-421. Winner of the UK Political Studies Association’s Harrison Prize for the best article published in Political Studies in 2009.
Mitchell, P. & Evans, G. 2009. ‘Ethnic Party Competition and the Dynamics of Power-Sharing in Northern Ireland’, in R. Taylor ed. Consociational Theory: McGarry and O’Leary and the Northern Ireland conflict. London: Routledge.
Tilley, J., Evans G. & Mitchell C. 2008. ‘Consociationalism and the evolution of political cleavages in Northern Ireland, 1989-2004’, British Journal of Political Science, 38: 699-717.

Further Information

​I have a longstanding research interest in class inequality and politics in Britain. Related areas of concern include the politics of religion, ethnicity and class in Northern Ireland and former communist societies.  A current theme of this area of my work examines comparatively the impact of the choices provided by political parties on the extent of class and religious divisions in political behaviour across a wide range of societies. My British focused work focuses on the increasing disconnection of working class and poor people from the electoral system as a consequence of their lack of representation, in turn leading to further under-representation. This forms part of a book length project (with James Tilley) on The New Class War: The Marginalization and Political Exclusion of the Working Class.

I am also interested in studying how people make sense of politics - the measurement of political perceptions and attitudes and how we can understand their relationship with voters' social backgrounds and party preferences. This derives in part from my background in psychology, where the validation of reliable measures of attitudes, perceptions and values is customary practice, and my further experience in sociology, where structural characteristics are likewise given more careful attention than they typically are in political science. Both of these inform my approach to the study of public opinion and political choices. In recent years particular emphasis has been given to how voters' views on the economy are shaped and how this impacts on their relationship with party choice, as well as the more general question of how to measure and model key concepts such as valence, or performance, voting.
Institutionally, too much of my time in recent years has probably been spent introducing and consolidating extensive systematic training in quantitative methods and accompanying scientific practice in the Department of Politics and IR at Oxford. This was mainly achieved through the founding of the Centre for Research Methods in the Social Sciences (ReMiSS), partly in response to a policy introduced during my time on the ESRC's Research Training Board and implemented with great generosity by the then HoD, Mark Philpp.  Among the good things that have emerged from this initiative is a cohort of permanent faculty members who embody the principles and practice of high quality political science, as well as a stream of excellent post-doctoral research fellows both in the DPIR and Nuffield College. The practices implemented by ReMiSS are now continued through my work in the recently established ESRC Doctoral Training Centre and the Oxford Spring School for Quantitative Methods in Social Research. Most recently Oxford has successfully obtained four new quantitative posts in politics/political sociology as part of the Q-Step Initiative. 
Finally, in 2013 I became co-director of the British Election Study, the Scottish Referendum Study and the Northern Ireland Election Study. These intensive projects will run for several years and involve the implementation of large scale studies of the factors shaping citizens' preferences and their consequences for the current and future character of UK politics.
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