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PhD in Business and Management - Do progressive support bases constrain the achievement of socio-economic equality?

Cardiff Business School

Dr Thomas Prosser Monday, May 31, 2021 Self-Funded PhD Students Only
Cardiff United Kingdom Business Government Business & Management Politics

About the Project

Cardiff Business School invites applications from exceptional candidates with a first class or strong upper second class honours degree, and/or appropriate Master’s degree. The University values diversity and equality at all levels and we encourage applications from all sections of the community, irrespective of age, disability, sex, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation. 

The successful candidate will be enrolled on the PhD in Business and Management at Cardiff Business School.

Please visit here for further information about the PhD Programme at Cardiff Business School.

Applicant Profile:

The ideal candidate for this project has a specialist Master’s Degree in Business, Management or related subjects from an internationally renowned University. Applicants with a strong first degree will also be considered. The ideal applicant has the motivation and ability to conduct fieldwork and is open to try different methodological approaches.

Project Description:

Support bases of left-wing and liberal political parties increasingly consist of wealthier voters. As economic and cultural changes have driven low-income citizens to right-populist parties, left-wing and liberal parties have attracted socio-cultural professionals such as doctors and teachers (Kriesi et al., 2008). Though left-wing and certain liberal (‘progressive’) parties continue to espouse redistributive goals, previous research (e.g. Hibbs, 1977) suggests a decrease in support from low-income voters will make redistribution harder to achieve as parties respond to the preferences of their voters. Socio-cultural professionals have distinct social policy preferences, favouring education, social investment and gender equality (Häusermann, Picot and Geering, 2013: 228); poorer voters prefer redistributive transfers. Initial research has investigated this phenomenon, finding that support bases sometimes constrain redistributive ability (Abou-Chadi and Immergut, 2018; Engler and Zohlnhöfer, 2019; Gingrich and Häusermann, 2015), yet this scholarship emphasizes rational occupation of political space, underplaying policy legacies (Pierson, 1995) and discourse (Schmidt, 2002).

Colleagues and I are working on a project which addresses this shortcoming, using a mixed-methods comparative approach to examine how the interplay of path dependent policy preferences and electoral contingency combine to produce the social policy platforms of progressive parties in Europe. I would like to find a PhD student who is interested in working on this question. I am open to different methodological approaches. In our project, we use mixed methods which include time-series analysis, survey experiments and content and discourse analysis. Though our research focuses on Europe, I am interested in cases in other regions.

Applicants should take careful consideration of the working title and description of the project, and may wish to contact the named member of staff for a discussion prior to applying.

·      The Lead supervisor on this project is, Dr Thomas Prosser,

Funding Notes

Applications are open until 31st May 2021, however if sufficient applications are received we reserve the right to close the application early.
This project is not funded, applications from self-funded students are welcome. Outstanding applicants may be considered for one of the available University scholarships. The start date is 1st October 2021.
For more information about scholarships, entry requirements and application process please visit our website: View Website


When applying, please specify the project title and supervisor of this project and whether you are self-funded or are applying for funding (within or external to the University).
The application must contain the following documents:
1. Covering letter: The covering letter must name the project being applied for and should be addressed to the supervisor. It must set out your reasons and motivation for applying to study at Cardiff University; your understanding, and expectations of doctoral study; and your academic interests generally, and particularly how these relate to the description of the project supplied. The covering letter should be no more than two pages.
2. Academic / Professional Qualifications: Where appropriate, this should also include proof of English Language Competency (7.0 IELTS minimum).
3. References: All applications require two academic references to be submitted in support. Candidates must approach referees themselves and include the references with their application.
4. Curriculum Vitae: This should be no longer than two pages.
5. Research Proposal: The proposal should build directly on the project description that has been supplied. The proposal should be up to a maximum of 1000 words, not including bibliographic references. We suggest that you use the following five headings in your research proposal:
• Your reflections on the title, aims and purpose of the research;
• An overview of some key research literature relevant to the study;
• Your proposals for developing the design and methods of the study;
• A description of potential outcomes of the project for understanding, knowledge, policy and practice (as appropriate to the topic);
• Bibliographic references
This program is available in English only. To request information in Welsh, please contact the Postgraduate Recruitment Team (

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