Professor — Ph.D., University of Iowa
Hogg Professor of Government
- E-mail: Wlezien@austin.utexas.edu
Christopher Wlezien is Hogg Professor of Government. He joins the faculty from Temple University. Previously he taught at Oxford University, where he was Reader of Comparative Government and a Fellow of Nuffield College. While at Oxford, he co-founded the ESRC-funded Oxford Spring School in Quantitative Methods for Social Research. Before that, he taught at the University of Houston, where he was founding director of the Institute for the Study of Political Economy. He holds or has held visiting positions at Columbia University, European University Institute (Florence), Instituto Empresa (Madrid), Juan March Institute (Madrid), University of Mannheim (Germany), McGill University (Montreal), Sciences Po (Paris), and the University of Manchester (UK). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1989 and his B.A. from Saint Xavier College (Chicago) in 1984.
His primary, ongoing research develops a “thermostatic” model of public opinion and policy and examines the dynamic interrelationships between preferences for spending and budgetary policy in various domains. A cross-national investigation focusing on the US, the UK, and Canada is the subject of a book entitled Degrees of Democracy, published by Cambridge University Press. Wlezien edited a related book on Who Gets Represented?, which was published by the Russell Sage Foundation. His most recent paper in the area tests theories about the effects of federalism, executive-legislative imbalance, and the proportionality of electoral systems in 17 countries.
His other major area of research addresses the evolution of voter preferences over the course of the election cycle. It has been the subject of numerous articles and a book, entitled The Timeline of Presidential Elections, published last year by the University of Chicago Press. His most recent paper in the area compares the historical performance of election prediction markets and pre-election polls.
Wlezien was founding co-editor of the international Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties. He currently is Associate Editor of Public Opinion Quarterly and Parliamentary Affairs and is a member of the editorial boards of six other journals.
GOV 384M • Public Opinion & Public Policy
M 1230pm-330pm BAT 5.102
This course examines the interrelationships between public opinion and public policy in the US and other countries, and should be of relevance to students of American Politics, Comparative Politics, and Public Policy. It is designed to meet the needs of graduate students who hope to do original research, master a doctoral field, or teach in the area. The literature that has been chosen is not inclusive of the wide-ranging and rapidly-expanding work that comprises the field, and encompasses those areas of recurrent scholarly interest, but should serve as a useful starting point. The reading will give you a good sense for what we have learned about the subject and help you identify your own avenues for research.
The class is a seminar. Throughout the semester, participants will engage in two basic activities. First, each week we will as a group plough through a set of assigned readings on the scheduled topic. All students are expected to do all reading and be prepared to actively participate, as this is critical to the healthy functioning of the seminar. Second, beginning in week 3, one or two students will take responsibility for each session. This should promote participation, limit my proclivity for filibustering, and help prepare each student for the day when he or she must lead a class. Seminar leaders are expected to distribute by e-mail five discussion questions for the class meeting.
The main assignment for this class is the preparation of an original research paper, about which more detailed information will be provided in class, first in week 1 and then during the course, as appropriate.
Performance in the class will be assessed as follows:
25% General class performance
25% Class presentations
50% Research paper
- 5% Hypothesis
- 10% Proposal
- 35% Final Paper.
The course readings will include numerous articles and books, including the following:
Brooks, Clem and Jeff Manza. 2007. Why Welfare States Persist: Public Opinion and the Future of Social Provision. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Dalton, R., Farrell, D. & McAllister, I. 2012. Political Parties and Democratic Linkage. How Parties Organize Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Soroka, Stuart and Christopher Wlezien. 2010. Degrees of Democracy: Politics, Public
Opinion and Policy. New York: Cambridge University Press.