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 Studies 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 (2020-24, together with Nicholas Owen), and as an Executive Editor of the British Journal of Political Science.

As joint Head of Department, my remit includes finance, research, 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 voter attitudes and behaviour. My work on comparative political institutions explores fundamental institutional variation in developed democracies, such as voter ID, fixed and flexible election timing, confidence procedures, rules of government formation and termination, parliamentary prorogation, constitutional change, and the powers of executive presidents. I examine how leaders use these rules to exercise power, advance policy, and achieve re-election.

My second area of expertise is party political competition. Party competition affects how clearly responsibility can be attributed to incumbents and how easy it is to hold them to account. This has consequences for a range of outcomes, including which parties succeed electorally and for governmental corruption. Party competition also shapes major cross-national waves of policy diffusion and programmatic re-orientation, such as the turn to third-way Social Democracy, economic neo-liberalism, and the backlash against foreign populist incumbents. My work has examined all of these outcomes.

My third area of expertise is voter attitudes and behaviour, where my work explores the voter-level mechanisms that shape support for incumbents and the effectiveness of mainstream politicians’ interventions to counter anti-democratic appeals and associated attitudes such as hostility to immigrants and gender-stereotypes.

My research has been published in PLOS One, 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.


Journal Articles


Schleiter, P. and Fleming, T. (2023) “Radical departure or opportunity not taken? The Johnson government’s Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission”., British politics, 18(1), pp. 21–39.


Adams, J. (2022) “Backlash policy diffusion to populists in power”, PLoS One, 17(9).
Fleming, T., González-Bustamante, B. and Schleiter, P. (2022) “Cabinet Reshuffles and Parliamentary No-Confidence Motions”, Government and Opposition, pp. 1–15.
Schleiter, P. and Evans, G. (2022) “Prime ministers, the vote of confidence and the management of coalition terminations between elections”, West European Politics, 45(3), pp. 528–549.
Schleiter, P. (2022) “Party Mandates and Democracy: Making, Breaking, and Keeping Election Pledges in Twelve Countries”, Party Politics, 28(1), pp. 195–196.


Fleming, T. and Schleiter, P. (2021) “Prorogation: Comparative Context and Scope for Reform”, Parliamentary Affairs, 74(4), pp. 964–978.
Schleiter, P. and Fleming, T. (2021) “International Best Practice and the Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission”, The Political Quarterly, 92(1), pp. 74–79.
Schleiter, P. and Fleming, T. (2021) “Response to Jason Edwards’s Comment”, The Political Quarterly, 92(1), pp. 83–84.


Schleiter, P. and Fleming, T. (2020) “Parliamentary Prorogation in Comparative Context”, The Political Quarterly, 91(3), pp. 641–648.


Schleiter, P. and Issar, S. (2016) “Constitutional Rules and Patterns of Government Termination: The Case of the UK Fixed-term Parliaments Act”, Government and Opposition, 51(4), pp. 605–631.
Schleiter, P. and Belu, V. (2016) “The Decline of Majoritarianism in the UK and the Fixed-term Parliaments Act”, Parliamentary Affairs, 69(1), pp. 36–52.
Schleiter, P. (2016) “Editorial: How the Fixed-term Parliaments Act Changes UK Politics”, Parliamentary Affairs, 69(1), pp. 1–2.


Schleiter, P. and Belu, V. (2015) “The Challenge of Periods of Caretaker Government in the UK”, Parliamentary Affairs, 68(2), pp. 229–247.
Martínez-Gallardo, C. and Schleiter, P. (2015) “Choosing Whom to Trust”, Comparative Political Studies, 48(2), pp. 231–264.
Gay, O., Schleiter, P. and Belu, V. (2015) “The Coalition and the Decline of Majoritarianism in the UK”, The Political Quarterly, 86(1), pp. 118–124.


SCHLEITER, P. and BELU, V. (2014) “Avoiding Another ‘Squatter in Downing Street’ Controversy: The Need to Improve the Caretaker Conventions before the 2015 General Election”, The Political Quarterly, 85(4), pp. 454–461.
Schleiter, P. and Voznaya, A. (2014) “Party system competitiveness and corruption”, Party Politics, 20(5), pp. 675–686.
SCHLEITER, P. and ISSAR, S. (2014) “Fixed‐Term Parliaments and the Challenges for Governments and the Civil Service: A Comparative Perspective”, The Political Quarterly, 85(2), pp. 178–186.


Schleiter, P. (2013) “Democracy, Authoritarianism, and Ministerial Selection in Russia: How Presidential Preferences Shape Technocratic Cabinets”, Post-Soviet Affairs, 29(1), pp. 31–55.


Schleiter, P. and Morgan-Jones, E. (2010) “Who’s in Charge? Presidents, Assemblies, and the Political Control of Semipresidential Cabinets”, Comparative Political Studies, 43(11), pp. 1415–1441.
Schleiter, P. and Elgie, R. (2010) “Government Accountability and the Survival of Semi-Presidential Democracies.”


Schleiter, P. and Morgan-Jones, E. (2009) “Review Article: Citizens, Presidents and Assemblies: The Study of Semi-Presidentialism beyond Duverger and Linz”, British Journal of Political Science, 39(4), pp. 871–892.
SCHLEITER, P. and MORGAN-JONES, E. (2009) “Constitutional Power and Competing Risks: Monarchs, Presidents, Prime Ministers, and the Termination of East and West European Cabinets”, American Political Science Review, 103(3), pp. 496–512.
SCHLEITER, P. and MORGAN‐JONES, E. (2009) “Party government in Europe? Parliamentary and semi‐presidential democracies compared”, European Journal of Political Research, 48(5), pp. 665–693.
Schleiter, P. and Morgan-Jones, E. (2009) “Citizens, presidents and assemblies: The study of semi-presidentialism beyond duverger and linz”, British Journal of Political Science, 39(4), pp. 871–892.


Morgan-Jones, E. and Schleiter, P. (2004) “Governmental Change in a President-Parliamentary Regime: The Case of Russia 1994-2003”, Post-Soviet Affairs, 20(2), pp. 123–163.


Schleiter, P. (2003) “Mixed Constitutions and Political Instability”, Democratization, 10(1), pp. 1–26.


Chaisty, P. and Schleiter, P. (2002) “Productive but Not Valued: The Russian State Duma, 1994-2001”, Europe Asia Studies, 54(5), pp. 701–724.
Schleiter, P. (2002) “Variation in Speaker Power: The Case of the Russian Congress, 1990-93”, Journal of Legislative Studies, 8(2), pp. 23–48.
Schleiter, P. and Evans, G. (no date) “The Changing Confidence Relationship Between the UK Executive and Parliament in Comparative Context”, Parliamentary Affairs, 74(1), pp. 121–137.
Tavits, M. (no date) “Fathers’ Leave Reduces Sexist Attitude”, American Political Science Review [Preprint].
SCHLEITER, P. and Bucur, C. (no date) “Assembly Dissolution Powers and Incumbency Advantages in Coalition Formation”, West European Politics [Preprint].
SCHLEITER, P. (no date) “Can wedge strategies by mainstream parties cross-cut the anti-immigration far right vote?”, Electoral Studies [Preprint].
SCHLEITER, P. (no date) “Social Democratic Party Exceptionalism and Transnational Policy Linkages”, World Politics [Preprint].
SCHLEITER, P., Tavits, M. and Ward, D. (no date) “Can Political Speech Foster Tolerance of Immigrants?”, Political Science Research and Methods [Preprint].
SCHLEITER, P. and Beckman, T. (no date) “Opportunistic election timing, a complement or substitute for economic manipulation?”, The journal of politics [Preprint].
Schleiter, P. and Tavits, M. (no date) “Voter reactions to incumbent opportunism”, The Journal of Politics [Preprint].
Schleiter, P. (no date) “Why Dominant Governing Political Parties Are Cross-Nationally Influential”, International Studies Quarterly [Preprint].
Schleiter, P. and Morgan-Jones, E. (no date) “Presidential Influence on Parliamentary Election Timing and the Electoral Fate of Prime Ministers”, The Journal of Legislative Studies [Preprint].
Schleiter, P. and Belu, V. (no date) “Electoral incumbency advantages and the introduction of fixed parliamentary terms in the UK”, The British Journal of Politics and International Relations [Preprint].
Schleiter, P., Belu, V. and Hazell, R. (no date) “Hung parliaments and the need for clearer rules of government formation”, Political Quarterly [Preprint].
Schleiter, P. (no date) “Presidents, Assembly Dissolution and the Electoral Performance of Prime Ministers”, Comparative Political Studies [Preprint].
Schleiter, P. and Voznaya, A. (no date) “Party System Institutionalization, Accountability and Governmental Corruption”, British Journal of Political Science [Preprint].
Schleiter, P. (no date) “An Index of Assembly Dissolution Powers”, Comparative Political Studies [Preprint].
Schleiter, P. and Tavits, M. (no date) “The electoral Benefits of Opportunistic Election Timing”, The Journal of Politics [Preprint].



Schleiter, P. and VOZNAYA, A. (2017) “When Elections are Free but not Effective: Party Systems and Corruption”, in Electoral Rights in Europe Advances and Challenges. Taylor & Francis.
SCHLEITER, P. (no date) “Government Formation and Termination”, in The Oxford Handbook of Political Executives.
SCHLEITER, P. (no date) “Endogenous and Exogenous Election Timing”, in K. Goetz (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Time and Politics.