My full CV is available here.
In brief: I was born in Palo Alto, California but grew up in Kent in the United Kingdom. I studied History at Manchester University, where I was awarded the Thomas Brown Memorial Prize. I then took a Masters in History also at Manchester. In 2000, I left the UK to head back to California, where I enrolled at UC Berkeley in political science, earning a Masters degree.
I then moved to Harvard University, where I completed my PhD general exams and wrote my dissertation: From the Ballot to the Blackboard, a study of the impact of politics on education spending, which won the Senator Charles A. Sumner Dissertation Prize. The dissertation was the basis for my 2010 book of the same title, available at Cambridge University Press, and winner of the 2011 William Riker prize for best book awarded by the Political Economy section of the American Political Science Association.
From 2006 to 2013 I taught Political Science at the University of Minnesota. In July 2013 I joined the University of Oxford as Professor in Comparative Democratic Institutions at Nuffield College. I was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2018.
I have written a variety of papers in the area of political economy, available on my papers page. My academic interests currently focus on the politics of education policy, the relationship between inequality and democracy, and on the effects of asset price inflation on political preferences. Since my work captures insights from both comparative and international political economy, I hold a strong research interest across a variety of sub-fields in political science. My most recent book, coauthored with Johannes Lindvall is Inward Conquest: The Political Origins of Modern Public Services. I also coauthored with David Samuels Inequality and Democratization: An Elite-Competition Approach, published in 2014 with Cambridge University Press and winner of the 2015 Woodrow Wilson prize for the best book on government, politics or international affairs and the 2015 William Riker prize for the best book in political economy.
I have also worked as an academic consultant to HM Treasury in the UK and for the Leitch Review of Skills, which advised the UK government on long-term education policy. Since that time I have written several policy pieces for European audiences. These works are available on my policy page.