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.
His third book, Inward Conquest: The Modern State and the Revolution in the Art of Government that Shook the World, with Johannes Lindvall was published in 2021.
Ben is finishing a project 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.
He is the author of Why Politics Fails published by Penguin (UK / worldwide) and PublicAffairs (North America) in 2023.
Ben was selected to give the 2023 Reith Lectures by the BBC.
His work has been published in International Organization, World Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Politics, 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.