My approach to political economy stems from the comparative and international politics tradition. Rather than seeking generalised laws to explain the cross-national variation in policy outcomes, this research tradition seeks empirical case knowledge of the causal processes and mechanism through which institutions and politics interact to produce variation in policy outcomes.
I apply this theoretical framework to the study of growth models within the EU's political economy. More specifically, I am interested in how different national varieties of capitalism in Europe are structured by their domestic political and economic institutions, such as wage setting, labour markets, housing markets, foreign investment, industrial relations and the welfare state.
Methodologically, my research combines large N statistical analysis with small N comparative case studies. But generally, I am more interested in qualitative case study methods that focus on causal mechanisms, and political processes.
My co-authored research uses distributive lag panel models with time series data with in-depth comparative qualitative causal process tracing analysis.
I have done comparative case study analysis on Ireland and Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands, and Ireland and Hungary, and Ireland and Latvia.
More recently, I have taken an interest in using survey experiments to analyse whether and how media framing impacts policy preference formation.
I have been involved in a variety of international research projects, including an EU funded project with partners in Barcelona, Florence and Amsterdam, whwere we apply social network analysis to the pattern of wage setting in the pharmaceutical and retail sectors in Italy, Spain, Ireland and the Netherlands.
I am also working with co-authors on projects that range from the impact of house prices on wealth inequality in Europe; the elite politics of foreign direct investment in Ireland and Hungary; the impact of the media framing on attitudes toward corporate tax avoidance; and the rise of left populism in Ireland.
From 2018-2021, my UCD colleagues and I received funding from the European Commission to develop a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in European political economy. This project address three themes: economic governance; protest and politics; and democratic legitimacy. A core part of this project was a PhD Winter School aimed at building a scholarly community in European political economy.
In the next phase of my research I would like to study the role of the legal-accounting profession in shaping the politics of global tax avoidance.