Professor Philip Leifeld

Department of Government
Professor Philip Leifeld



Philip Leifeld is Professor of Comparative Politics in the Department of Government, with an affiliation in the Institute of Analytics and Data Science (IADS) at the University of Essex. He was previously Professor of Research Methods at the University of Glasgow, after holding fellowships and research positions at the University of Konstanz, the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag, ETH Domain, Zurich), the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, and the University of Bern. His research interests focus on the study of political networks, computational social science, and comparative public policy. Dr Leifeld has published in political science journals like the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, and the British Journal of Political Science, but also in leading journals in several other disciplines due to the interdisciplinary nature of complex social systems, such as Nature Climate Change or Physica A: Statistical Mechanics. At the University of Essex, Dr Leifeld teaches GV903 Advanced Research Methods, the year-long core MSc module that includes generalised linear models, maximum likelihood, longitudinal analysis, causal inference, and related topics. He also serves as the postgraduate taught (PGT) Director of Recruitment of prospective master's students. Dr Leifeld is interested in supervising PhD students in his domain of expertise, including discourse network analysis, statistical network analysis, public policy, and political networks. He has supervised PhD students both in political science and in statistics in the past. The best way to go about this is to explore the various funding options for starting a PhD and to get in touch with Dr Leifeld to discuss possible topics and opportunities. Scholarship competitions are usually announced in autumn and close around January each year for a start date in the following academic year. Dr Leifeld's personal website provides more details at

Research and professional activities

Conferences and presentations

Discourse Network Analysis with DNA and rDNA

4th European Conference on Social Networks (EUSN 2019), ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, 12/9/2019

Smoothed Bipolarization of Policy Debates: Are Coalitions in Discourse Networks Stable over Time or Punctuated?

4th European Conference on Social Networks (EUSN 2019), ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, 11/9/2019

Polarization and the Evolution of Coalitions in Public Policy Debates

Invited presentation, Keynote presentation, European Symposium on Societal Challenges in Computational Social Science (EuroCSS) 2019: Polarization and Radicalization, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, 4/9/2019

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Advanced Research Methods (GV903)

  • Research Design (GV914)

  • Data for Social Data Science (GV918)


Journal articles (28)

Malang, T. and Leifeld, P., (2021). The Latent Diffusion Network among National Parliaments in the Early Warning System of the European Union. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies

Hilton, S., Buckton, C., Fergie, G., Henrichsen, T. and Leifeld, P., (2020). Policy congruence and advocacy strategies in the discourse networks of minimum unit pricing for alcohol and the soft drinks industry levy. Addiction. 115 (12), 2303-2314

Leifeld, P., (2020). Policy Debates and Discourse Network Analysis: A Research Agenda. Politics and Governance. 8 (2), 180-183

Brandenberger, L., Ingold, K., Fischer, M., Schläpfer, I. and Leifeld, P., (2020). Boundary Spanning through Engagement of Policy Actors in Multiple Issues. Policy Studies Journal

Fergie, G., Leifeld, P., Hawkins, B. and Hilton, S., (2019). Mapping discourse coalitions in the minimum unit pricing for alcohol debate: a discourse network analysis of UK newspaper coverage. Addiction. 114 (4), 741-753

Metz, F., Leifeld, P. and Ingold, K., (2019). Interdependent policy instrument preferences: a two-mode network approach. Journal of Public Policy. 39 (4), 1-28

Malang, T., Brandenberger, L. and Leifeld, P., (2019). Networks and Social Influence in European Legislative Politics. British Journal of Political Science. 49 (4), 1475-1498

Buckton, CH., Fergie, G., Leifeld, P. and Hilton, S., (2019). A discourse network analysis of UK newspaper coverage of the “sugar tax” debate before and after the announcement of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy. BMC Public Health. 19 (1), 490-

Leifeld, P. and Cranmer, SJ., (2019). A theoretical and empirical comparison of the temporal exponential random graph model and the stochastic actor-oriented model. Network Science. 7 (1), 20-51

Fisher, DR. and Leifeld, P., (2019). The polycentricity of climate policy blockage. Climatic Change. 155 (4), 469-487

Leifeld, P., (2018). Polarization in the social sciences: Assortative mixing in social science collaboration networks is resilient to interventions. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications. 507 (C), 510-523

Heaney, MT. and Leifeld, P., (2018). Contributions by Interest Groups to Lobbying Coalitions. The Journal of Politics. 80 (2), 494-509

Leifeld, P., Cranmer, SJ. and Desmarais, BA., (2018). Temporal Exponential Random Graph Models with btergm: Estimation and Bootstrap Confidence Intervals. Journal of Statistical Software. 83 (6)

Leifeld, P. and Fisher, DR., (2017). Membership nominations in international scientific assessments. Nature Climate Change. 7 (10), 730-735

Leifeld, P., Wankmüller, S., Berger, VTZ., Ingold, K. and Steiner, C., (2017). Collaboration patterns in the German political science co-authorship network. PLoS ONE. 12 (4), e0174671-e0174671

Cranmer, SJ., Leifeld, P., McClurg, SD. and Rolfe, M., (2017). Navigating the Range of Statistical Tools for Inferential Network Analysis. American Journal of Political Science. 61 (1), 237-251

Czarna, AZ., Leifeld, P., Śmieja, M., Dufner, M. and Salovey, P., (2016). Do Narcissism and Emotional Intelligence Win Us Friends? Modeling Dynamics of Peer Popularity Using Inferential Network Analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 42 (11), 1588-1599

Leifeld, P. and Ingold, K., (2016). Co-authorship Networks in Swiss Political Research. Swiss Political Science Review. 22 (2), 264-287

Ingold, K. and Leifeld, P., (2016). Structural and Institutional Determinants of Influence Reputation: A Comparison of Collaborative and Adversarial Policy Networks in Decision Making and Implementation. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. 26 (1), 1-18

Fischer, M. and Leifeld, P., (2015). Policy forums: Why do they exist and what are they used for?. Policy Sciences. 48 (3), 363-382

Leifeld, P., (2014). Polarization of coalitions in an agent-based model of political discourse. Computational Social Networks. 1 (1)

Leifeld, P., (2013). texreg: Conversion of Statistical Model Output in R to LATEX and HTML Tables. 055 (i08)

Leifeld, P., (2013). texreg: Conversion of Statistical Model Output inRtoLATEXand HTML Tables. Journal of Statistical Software. 55 (8), 1-24

Leifeld, P., (2013). Reconceptualizing Major Policy Change in the Advocacy Coalition Framework: A Discourse Network Analysis of German Pension Politics. Policy Studies Journal. 41 (1), 169-198

Fisher, DR., Leifeld, P. and Iwaki, Y., (2013). Mapping the ideological networks of American climate politics. Climatic Change. 116 (3-4), 523-545

Fisher, DR., Waggle, J. and Leifeld, P., (2013). Where Does Political Polarization Come From? Locating Polarization Within the U.S. Climate Change Debate. American Behavioral Scientist. 57 (1), 70-92

Leifeld, P. and Schneider, V., (2012). Information Exchange in Policy Networks. American Journal of Political Science. 56 (3), 731-744

LEIFELD, P. and HAUNSS, S., (2012). Political discourse networks and the conflict over software patents in Europe. European Journal of Political Research. 51 (3), 382-409

Books (2)

Leifeld, P., (2016). Policy Debates as Dynamic Networks: German Pension Politics and Privatization Discourse. Campus-Verlag. 3593505703. 9783593505701

Schneider, V., Janning, F., Leifeld, P. and Malang, T., (2009). Politiknetzwerke Modelle, Anwendungen und Visualisierungen. Springer-Verlag. 3531164015. 9783531164014

Book chapters (1)

Siebenhüner, B., (2013). Long-Term Governance for Social-Ecological Change. In: Long-Term Governance for Social-Ecological Change. Routledge. 221- 238. 9780203556160

Conferences (1)

Hilton, S., Fergie, G., Hawkins, B. and Leifeld, P., (2017). A discourse network analysis of minimum unit pricing for alcohol: mapping the discursive communities in UK newspaper coverage of the debate

Scholarly Editions (3)

Leifeld, P. and Schneider, V., Institutional communication revisited: Preferences, opportunity structures and scientific expertise in policy networks

Leifeld, P. and Haunss, S., A Comparison between Political Claims Analysis and Discourse Network Analysis: The Case of Software Patents in the European Union

Towfigh, EV., Goerg, SJ., Glöckner, A., Leifeld, P., Llorente-Saguer, A., Bade, S. and Kurschilgen, C., (2016). Do direct-democratic procedures lead to higher acceptance than political representation?

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