Petra Schleiter

BSc MPhil DPhil

Joint Head of Department and Professor of Comparative Politics, DPIR
Tutorial Fellow, St Hilda's College
Government and Politics Network
Oxford Constitutional Forum
St Hilda's College

I am a Professor of Comparative Politics and a Tutorial Fellow of St Hilda’s College. I am also affiliated with the Constitution Unit at University College London, where I am a Fellow. Currently, I serve as Joint Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations (2020-23, together with Nicholas Owen), and as an Executive Editor of the British Journal of Political Science.

As joint Head of Department, my remit includes research, finance, the REF, the department's relations with Division and key aspects of academic HR, including recognition of distinction and the award of titles. I am also the interim equality and diversity lead. Nick leads on teaching and courses, non-academic HR, communications, building matters, and health and safety. He also represents the Department on the Divisional Board. We share responsibility for academic recruitment and staff review and development, strategic planning, fundraising, governance, and risk management. 


My research interests straddle three broad areas: comparative political institutions, political parties, and attitudes and behaviour. My work on political institutions examines fundamental institutional variation in European and OECD democracies, such as fixed and flexible election timing, confidence procedures, rules of government formation and termination, parliamentary prorogation, constitutional change, and executive presidents’ ministerial appointment, legislative and assembly dissolution powers.

Of particular interest to me is how leaders, i.e. prime ministers, presidents and legislative leaders, use these rules for partisan advantage - to exercise power, advance policy, and achieve re-election - both in ordinary democratic politics and as tools of executive overreach. My second area of expertise is party political competition. Party competition affects how clearly responsibility can be attributed to incumbents, how easy it is to hold them to account, and which parties succeed electorally. This has consequences for a range of outcomes, including governmental corruption and policy diffusion and I have made contributions in understanding both outcomes.

My third area of expertise is political attitudes and behaviour, including the determinants of xenophobia and gender equality. My research has been published in the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, World Politics, the British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Political Science Research and Methods, International Studies Quarterly, Party Politics, European Journal of Political Research and elsewhere.


Schleiter, P, Belu, V. "Electoral incumbency advantages and the introduction of fixed parliamentary terms in the UK", British Journal of Politics and International Relations, vol. 20, no. 2, Jan. 2018, pp. 303-322. doi:10.1177/1369148117739858.

Schleiter, P, Voznaya, A. "Party system institutionalization, accountability and governmental corruption", British Journal of Political Science, vol. 48, no. 2, Mar. 2016, pp. 315-342. doi:10.1017/S0007123415000770.

Schleiter, P, Elgie, R. "Government Accountability and the Survival of Semi-Presidential Democracies", , doi:.
Schleiter, P, Belu, V. "The Decline of Majoritarianism in the UK and the Fixed-term Parliaments Act", PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 36-52. doi:10.1093/pa/gsv002.
Schleiter, P. "How the Fixed-term Parliaments Act Changes UK Politics", PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 1-2. doi:10.1093/pa/gsv020.
Schleiter, P, Morgan-Jones, E. "Presidents, assembly dissolution and the electoral performance of prime ministers", Comparative Political Studies, vol. 51, no. 6, Jun. 2017, pp. 730-758. doi:10.1177/0010414017710267.
Schleiter, P, Voznaya, A. "When elections are free but not effective: Party systems and corruption", , no. 8, Jun. 2017, doi:10.4324/9781315470498.
Schleiter, P, Belu, V, Hazell, R. "Hung parliaments and the need for clearer rules of government formation", Political Quarterly, vol. 88, no. 3, Jul. 2017, pp. 404-411. doi:10.1111/1467-923X.12399.
Elgie, R, Schleiter, P. "Variation in the Durability of Semi-Presidential Democracies", , pp. 42-60. doi:.
Schleiter, P, Goplerud, M. "An index of assembly dissolution powers", Comparative Political Studies, vol. 49, no. 4, Mar. 2016, pp. 427-456. doi:10.1177/0010414015612393.
Morgan-Jones, E, Schleiter, P. "Presidential influence on parliamentary election timing and the electoral fate of prime ministers", Journal of Legislative Studies, vol. 24, no. 2, Jun. 2018, pp. 211-226. doi:10.1080/13572334.2018.1477273.
Böhmelt, T, Ezrow, L, Lehrer, R, Schleiter, P, Ward, H. "Why dominant governing political parties are cross-nationally influential", International Studies Quarterly, vol. 61, no. 4, Dec. 2017, pp. 749-759. doi:10.1093/isq/sqx067.
Schleiter, P, Tavits, M. "Voter reactions to incumbent opportunism", Journal of Politics, vol. 80, no. 4, Aug. 2018, pp. 1183-1196. doi:10.1086/698758.
Beckman, T, Schleiter, P. "Opportunistic election timing, a complement or substitute for economic manipulation?", Journal of Politics, vol. 82, no. 3, May. 2020, pp. 1127-1141. doi:10.1086/707794.
Schleiter, P. "Endogenous and Exogenous Election Timing", , May. 2019, doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190862084.013.3.
Schleiter, P. "Government formation and termination", , Aug. 2020, doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198809296.013.12.
Schleiter, P, Tavits, M, Ward, D. "Can political speech foster tolerance of immigrants?", Political Science Research and Methods, doi:.
Schleiter, P, Bohmelt, T, Ezrow, L, Lehrer, R. "Social Democratic Party exceptionalism and transnational policy linkages", World Politics, vol. 73, no. 3 , Jun. 2021, pp. 512-544. doi:10.1017/S0043887121000022.
Schleiter, P, Issar, S. "Fixed-Term Parliaments and the Challenges for Governments and the Civil Service: A Comparative Perspective", POLITICAL QUARTERLY, vol. 85, no. 2, pp. 178-186. doi:10.1111/1467-923X.12073.
Schleiter, P. "Mixed constitutions and political instability: Russia 1991-1993", Democratization, vol. 10, no. 1, Jan. 2003, pp. 1-26. doi:10.1080/714000106.
Morgan-Jones, E, Schleiter, P. "Governmental Change in a President-Parliamentary Regime: The Case of Russia 1994-2003", Post-Soviet Affairs, vol. 20, no. 2, Jan. 2004, pp. 123-163. doi:10.2747/1060-586X.20.2.123.
Schleiter, P, Morgan-Jones, E. "Party government in Europe? Parliamentary and semi-presidential democracies compared", European Journal of Political Research, vol. 48, no. 5, Aug. 2009, pp. 665-693. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6765.2009.00847.x.
Schleiter, P, Morgan-Jones, E. "Constitutional power and competing risks: Monarchs, presidents, prime ministers, and the termination of East and West European cabinets", American Political Science Review, vol. 103, no. 3, Aug. 2009, pp. 496-512. doi:10.1017/S0003055409990062.
Schleiter, P, Morgan-Jones, E. "Citizens, presidents and assemblies: The study of semi-presidentialism beyond duverger and linz", British Journal of Political Science, vol. 39, no. 4, Jan. 2009, pp. 871-892. doi:10.1017/S0007123409990159.
Schleiter, P, Morgan-Jones, E. "Who's in charge? Presidents, assemblies, and the political control of semipresidential cabinets", Comparative Political Studies, vol. 43, no. 11, Oct. 2010, pp. 1415-1441. doi:10.1177/0010414010371904.
Schleiter, P, Morgan-Jones, E. "Review Article: Citizens, Presidents and Assemblies: The Study of Semi-Presidentialism beyond Duverger and Linz", BRITISH JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, vol. 39, pp. 871-892. doi:10.1017/S0007123409990159.
Schleiter, P. "Democracy, Authoritarianism, and Ministerial Selection in Russia: How Presidential Preferences Shape Technocratic Cabinets", POST-SOVIET AFFAIRS, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 31-55. doi:10.1080/1060586X.2013.778544.
Chaisty, P, Schleiter, P. "Productive but not valued: The Russian State Duma, 1994-2001", Europe - Asia Studies, vol. 54, no. 5, Jan. 2002, pp. 701-724. doi:10.1080/09668130220147010.
Schleiter, P, Voznaya, AM. "Party system competitiveness and corruption", PARTY POLITICS, vol. 20, no. 5, pp. 675-686. doi:10.1177/1354068812448690.
Schleiter, P, Belu, V. "Avoiding Another 'Squatter in Downing Street' Controversy: The Need to Improve the Caretaker Conventions before the 2015 General Election", POLITICAL QUARTERLY, vol. 85, no. 4, pp. 454-461. doi:10.1111/1467-923X.12089.
Martinez-Gallardo, C, Schleiter, P. "Choosing Whom to Trust: Agency Risks and Cabinet Partisanship in Presidential Democracies", COMPARATIVE POLITICAL STUDIES, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 231-264. doi:10.1177/0010414014544361.
Schleiter, P, Issar, S. "Constitutional Rules and Patterns of Government Termination: The Case of the UK Fixed-term Parliaments Act", GOVERNMENT AND OPPOSITION, vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 605-631. doi:10.1017/gov.2014.45.
Gay, O, Schleiter, P, Belu, V. "The Coalition and the Decline of Majoritarianism in the UK", POLITICAL QUARTERLY, vol. 86, no. 1, pp. 118-124. doi:10.1111/1467-923X.12148.
Schleiter, P, Belu, V. "The Challenge of Periods of Caretaker Government in the UK", PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, vol. 68, no. 2, pp. 229-247. doi:10.1093/pa/gsu027.
Schleiter, P, Tavits, M. "The electoral benefits of opportunistic election timing", Journal of Politics, vol. 78, no. 3, May. 2016, pp. 836-850. doi:10.1086/685447.

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