My research focuses on two broad areas of political studies, both of which examine institutions and policymaking processes comparatively: 1) democratic representation at the national level in a range of countries, and 2) international policymaking at the European and global levels. These two broad areas of research are linked by the fact that national systems of democratic representation are increasingly embedded in international systems of policymaking.
In the area of democratic representation my work focuses on the fulfilment of election pledges in a range of contexts and countries. I am part of an international research project – the Comparative Party Pledges Project (CPPP) – with researchers from across Europe and North America. Our ongoing work assesses theories of democratic representation and policymaking with the largest qualitative and quantitative dataset on election pledges presently available. For example:
Thomson, R. 2011. Citizens’ evaluations of the fulfillment of election pledges: Evidence from Ireland. Journal of Politics 73: 187-201.
Thomson, R. and R. Costello. 2016. Governing together in good and bad economic times: the fulfilment of election pledges in Ireland. Irish Political Studies 31(2): 182-203.
Thomson, R., T. Royed, E. Naurin, J. Artés, R. Costello, L. Ennser-Jedenastik, M. Ferguson, P. Kostadinova, C. Moury, F. Pétry and K. Praprotnik. 2017. The Fulfillment of Parties’ Election Pledges: A Comparative Study on the Impact of Power Sharing. American Journal of Political Science 61(3): 527-42.
With respect to international policymaking, some of my work examines decision-making in the European Union, particularly how key actors in the EU – the European Commission, the European Parliament, member states and interest groups – formulate their policy positions on controversial issues, how these policy positions are transformed into decision outcomes, and how these decisions outcomes are implemented at the national level. Some of my recent research is concerned with how the EU will be changed when the UK leaves. My research on international policymaking is beginning to address policymaking at the global level, particularly global climate change negotiations. For example:
Arregui, J and R. Thomson. 2014. Domestic adjustment costs, interdependence and dissent in the Council of the European Union. European Journal of Political Research 53(4): 692-708.
Costello, R. and R. Thomson. 2016. Bicameralism, nationality and party cohesion in the European Parliament. Party Politics 22(6): 773-83.
Leinaweaver, J. and R. Thomson. 2016. Greener governments: Partisan ideologies, executive institutions and environmental policies. Environmental Politics 25(4): 633-60.
Sprinz, DF., B. Bueno de Mesquita, S. Kallbekken, FN. Stokman, H. Saelen and R. Thomson. 2016. Predicting Paris: Multi-Method Approaches to Forecast the Outcomes of Global Climate Negotiations. Politics and Governances 4(3): 172-87.
Thomson, R. 2011. Resolving Controversy in the European Union: Legislative Decision-making before and after Enlargement. Cambridge University Press.