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Personal profile

Research interests

Peter Allen joined PoLIS as Reader in Comparative Politics from Queen Mary University of London in September 2017. He is Director of Research in PoLIS and also serves as a Deputy Director of the Institute for Mathematical Innovation at Bath. For 2018-9, Peter is a Trustee of the Political Studies Association. He previously worked at Bath in 2013-4. He was also a 2016-7 AHRC International Placement Fellow at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and is an Associate Member of the Centre for Democratic Engagement at the University of Leeds.

He works primarily on issues around political representation and the question of who holds positions of political power and influence in society. From 2016-2018 he was the Principal Investigator of the ESRC Future Research Leaders project Born Politicians: Testing Multiple Explanations of in Political Ambition in Modern Britain which examines why some people are more likely than others to put themselves forward as candidates for political office. He is also a team member of the ESRC-funded Representative Audit of Britain and has had other research funded by the British Academy and the AHRC.

His first book, The Political Class: Why It Matters Who Our Politicians Are was published by Oxford University Press in April 2018. In the book he shows that our politicians are currently largely drawn from limited sections of society, reflecting patterns of wider social and economic inequality. He goes on to argue that having a more diverse political class would not only better reflect democratic principles of equality, but would also result in more legitimate political outcomes. It has been positively reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement and Irish Times, among others.


His other research looks at the effectiveness of gender quotas, their effects on public opinion towards women in politics, at the experiences of women in political life, how powerful interests shape what is seen to constitute valid or useful political knowledge, and how some political experiences confound our efforts to make rational decisions about them.

He regularly discusses his work in the media and often provides consultancy for various think-tanks, businesses, and interest groups.

Willing to supervise PhD

I am willing to supervise PhD students undertaking research on:

  • political representation
  • political ambition
  • political attitudes and knowledge

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Peter Allen is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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candidacy Social Sciences
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Projects 2017 2018

political elite
think tank

Research Output 2012 2019

Is the turnover of our MPs something to worry about?

Allen, P., 1 Nov 2019, The Spectator.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Personality and the gender gap in political ambition

Allen, P. & Cutts, D., 4 Nov 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : European Journal of Politics and Gender.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Political science, punditry, and the Corbyn problem

Allen, P., 2 Apr 2019, In : British Politics. 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)

The Grit in the Oyster? Women’s Parliamentary Organizations & the Substantive Representation of Women

Allen, P. & Childs, S., 1 Aug 2019, In : Political Studies. 67, 3, p. 618-638 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
women's issues
Labour Party
comparative research
quantitative method
political change
political culture
political institution