Research Division

Political Institutions

The Capitol Building in Washinton DC on a sunny day with an American flag flying

We research how governments create, enforce and apply policies and law

Political institutions set the rules for how governments create, enforce and apply policies and laws. We conduct research on legislatures, executives, courts, political parties and electoral systems. 

We focus on how the rules of the political game are formed and how different combinations of rules lead to a variety of political outcomes. This includes developing an understanding of the myriad institutional designs in the advanced, industrialized world and how they lead to different policy outputs as well as applying these lessons to the developing world to help build institutions that lead to stable democratic governments.

We also contribute to three departmental methods working groups: mixed-methods research, data science & quantitative political methodology, and evidence & public policy. The methods working groups encourage collaboration across research divisions based on shared methodological interests and facilitate interdisciplinary research. They promote the representation of the full spectrum of empirical approaches in our political science research and teaching.

To discover which methods working group a division member belongs to, please read their profiles listed below:

Contact us
Contact us
Head of Research Division Dr Ryan Bakker
Department of Government, University of Essex
Departmental Director of Research Professor Han Dorussen
Department of Government, University of Essex