Academic Profile

People Feature

Ben Ansell

Professorial Fellow
Professor of Comparative Democratic Institutions

Research interests: Democratization, inequality, education, housing, comparative political economy

Ben Ansell is Professor of Comparative Democratic Institutions in the Department of Politics and International Relations. He received his PhD in Government from Harvard University in 2006 and conducts research in a wide area of comparative politics and political economy. Before joining Nuffield College he was an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2018.

His initial research focus was the politics of education, with his book From the Ballot to the Blackboard: The Redistributive Politics of Education, published by Cambridge University Press in 2010 and winning the William H. Riker prize for best book in political economy. His second book, coauthored with David Samuels, Inequality and Democratization: An Elite Competition Approach, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014, and received the  William H. Riker prize for best book in political economy and the APSA Woodrow Wilson Prize for the best book on politics and international affairs.

Ben is currently working on two main projects. The first is on the politics of wealth inequality, supported by an ERC Consolidator Award, for his project WEALTHPOL: The Politics of Wealth Inequality and Mobility in the Twenty-first Century. The second is on the origins of state capacity in health, education, and public order, in a book project with Johannes Lindvall, titled Inward Conquest: The Modern State and the Revolution in the Art of Government that Shook the World. 

His work has been published in International OrganizationWorld PoliticsComparative Political Studies, and the American Political Science Review. From September 2013, together with David Samuels at the University of Minnesota, he has been co-editor of Comparative Political Studies.​

Ben Ansell


A list of Ben's publications may be found at his Personal Site. Some of his selected recent publications are shown below.


'Taking Credit: Redistribution and Borrowing in an Age of Economic Polarization', with John Ahlquist. World Politics. Nov 2017.

'Mismatch: University Education and Labour Market Institutions,' with Jane Gingrich PS: Political Science and Politics. Spring 2017.


'Journal Editors and "Results-Free" Research: A Cautionary Note,' with David Samuels, Comparative Political Studies. December 2016.


'The Dynamics of Social Investment: Human Capital, Activation, and Care', with Jane Gingrich, in Beramendi, Pablo, Silja Hausermann, Herbert Kitschelt and Hans-Peter Kriesi (eds.), The Politics of Advanced Capitalism, Cambridge University Press, 2015.