Catarina Leão

I am a last year DPhil Candidate in Politics and the recipient of a Full Scholarship granted by the FCT, the Portuguese national funding agency for science, research and technology, with full funding until February 2022.

My research interests lie in the areas of Political Economy and Comparative Politics. My doctoral project uses a top-down rational choice approach to determine how legacies of autocratic regimes shape extremism after transitions to democracy. I am also broadly interested in the economic legacies of autocracies, European politics, the effects of inequality and redistribution, post-transitional party formation, and electoral behaviour. Methodologically, I am interested in quantitative methods, text as data, and quasi-experimental designs.

Before joining the University of Oxford I briefly worked in journalism and consultancy. I read for an MA in Governance, Leadership and Democracy Studies (Summa cum laude) at the Institute for Political Studies of the Catholic University of Portugal, with a full scholarship awarded by the Fundação Oriente. I hold a BSc in Business Administration from the Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics

To learn more about my current research please visit my personal website

View my side-project paper on 'Democratization or Repression?' The Role of Economic Clout.


Teaching at Oxford

  • Comparative Political Economy (230)
  • Comparative Government (201)
  • Introduction to the Practice of Politics (Politics Prelims)



  • FCT Full Doctoral Fellowship. Awarded by FCT, the Portuguese national funding agency for science (2017 to 2022)
  • APSA 2019 Travel Grant: APSA Conference Funding (May 2019)
  • Henry the Navigator Award by the Institute of Political Studies IEP-UCP (February 2019)
  • Santander Academic Travel Award (March 2018)
  • Wolfson College Travel Grant Award (May 2019, March 2018, June 2017)
  • Wolfson College Fee Bursary (June 2017)
  • Norman Chester Funds Grant Award (June 2019 and September 2017)
  • Master of Arts Full Scholarship. Awarded by The Fundação Oriente (2013-2014)