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Peter John

Professor Peter John

Head of the School of Politics and Economics and Professor of Public Policy

Research interests

  • Policy
  • Politics

Biography

Peter John was a Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, University College London from 2011 until 2017. Previously he held appointments at the University of Manchester, Birkbeck, University of Southampton, and University of Keele. He has a DPhil from the University of Oxford and his first main job was as a Research Fellow at the Policy Studies Institute.

He became head of the School of Politics and Economics in July 2020.

Office hours

Please e-mail to arrange a meeting with Professor John. 

Research

Peter John is known for his work on agenda-setting, local politics, behavioural interventions, and randomized controlled trials.

He is author of Analyzing Public Policy (2012), which reviews the main theories of public policy and the policy process. He has carried out empirical work on agenda-setting to find out why governments focus on particular policies, which is represented in the book, Policy Agendas in British Politics (Palgrave, 2013), co-authored with Anthony Bertelli, William Jennings, and Shaun Bevan. With Anthony Bertelli, he developed public policy investment as an approach to understanding decision-making, which was published as Public Policy Investment: Priority-Setting and Conditional Representation in British Statecraft (Oxford University Press, 2013).

He is interested in how best to involve citizens in public policy and management, often deploying behavioural interventions.  He tests many of these interventions with randomized controlled trials. Some of these trials appeared in Nudge, Nudge, Think, Think: Experimenting with Ways to Change Civic Behaviour (Bloomsbury, 2011). Practical issues with the design of experiments are covered in Field Experiments in Political Science and Public Policy (Routledge, 2017).

Experiments are also used to examine the impact of social media and politics in Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action (Princeton University Press, 2015), with Helen Margetts, Scott Hale and Taha Yasseri.

A more general approach to the use of the tools of government to achieve policy change is contained in his Making Policy Work (Routledge, 2011).  His current book, to be published in 2018, is a critical review of the use of behavioral public policies, called How Far to Nudge: Assessing Behavioural Public Policy (Edward Elgar).

Peter John has had a long interest in local politics and public management, again focusing on citizen choices.  Such work culminated in his book with Keith Dowding, Exits, Voices and Social Investment: Citizens’ Reaction to Public Services, Cambridge University Press, 2012. He is currently working with Oliver James at the University of Exeter on a project testing exit and voice with experiments.

Teaching

    Research

    westminster
    Public Policy and Regulation Research Group

    Public Policy and Regulation (PPR) is the home for theoretically and empirically grounded research which analyses policy and regulatory responses to important political, social and economic issues, and (individual-level) responses to these policies.

    quantative resized
    Quantitative Political Economy Research Group

    The Quantitative Political Economy research group gathers economists and political scientists that are committed to bridging the two disciplines. The common ground is the study politics and policies with advanced quantitative methods and formal modeling.

    Environment-thomas-richter-unsplash
    Environment and Public Policy

    The Environment and Public Policy Group

    News

    'Nudges' can be effective tool for policymakers but consent is key

    A new study has found behavioural nudges can be an effective tool even when used without consent but doing so can cause feelings of resentment towards the...

    Nudge Illustration

    King's among best places in the world to study politics

    King’s College London is one of the top institutions in the world for the study of politics, according to new rankings released this week.

    SPE_stock

    Outstanding contributions celebrated at annual awards

    Merriment and excitement filled the air as the School of Politics and Economics Awards ceremony and the end-of-year drinks took place.

    Awards24_000

    New head of department announced

    The new head of the Department of Political Economy has been announced.

    SPE_stock

    Study shows public does support coercive policy....as long as it is seen to be effective

    Among the biggest challenges for governments tackling the COVID-19 pandemic was ensuring public compliance for policies introduced to encourage or manage...

    Long covid

    Students quiz MPs during visit to Houses of Parliament

    Students were given the opportunity to quiz MPs during a trip to the Houses of Parliament.

    House of Commons 1920x1080

    Online menus could prompt people to make healthier choices

    Prompting people to consider their meal choices when using online and digital food menus could help consumers to make significantly healthier and more...

    Person orders food online using tablet

    Adverts on social media fail to boost voter registration among under-represented groups

    Social media advertisement is not an effective method of encouraging under-represented groups to register to vote, a new study has found.

    vote-1804596_1920

    Praise for teaching and support in NSS survey

    The National Student Survey (NSS) results for 2023 have been published and the School of Politics and Economics scored strongly for the quality of teaching...

    SPENewsStock

    New school strategy unveiled at launch event

    A vision for how the School of Politics and Economics can build on its strengths and develop in the future was set out at the launch of the school’s new...

    StrategyLaunch002

    Events

    08JunBLM demonstrations took place across the UK in 2020. Picture: HUMPHREY MULEBA/UNSPLASH

    King’s Great Debates: What’s next for #BlackLivesMatter?

    The King's Great Debates series looks at what's next for the BLM movement

    Please note: this event has passed.

    18MarDo we need a whole new political economy?

    The climate emergency: Do we need a whole new political economy?

    One of the greatest threats to humanity – the climate emergency – will be in the spotlight for the first King’s Great Debate of 2021.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    11FebThe group will unpick the factors behind the 2019 general election.

    Election 2019: An Expert Guide

    What role did Brexit play in shaping the general election result and what happened in the key battleground seats?

    Please note: this event has passed.

    Features

    'Broader global perspective' needed to tackle climate emergency

    The climate emergency: Do we need a whole new political economy?

    How do we tackle the climate crisis?

      Research

      westminster
      Public Policy and Regulation Research Group

      Public Policy and Regulation (PPR) is the home for theoretically and empirically grounded research which analyses policy and regulatory responses to important political, social and economic issues, and (individual-level) responses to these policies.

      quantative resized
      Quantitative Political Economy Research Group

      The Quantitative Political Economy research group gathers economists and political scientists that are committed to bridging the two disciplines. The common ground is the study politics and policies with advanced quantitative methods and formal modeling.

      Environment-thomas-richter-unsplash
      Environment and Public Policy

      The Environment and Public Policy Group

      News

      'Nudges' can be effective tool for policymakers but consent is key

      A new study has found behavioural nudges can be an effective tool even when used without consent but doing so can cause feelings of resentment towards the...

      Nudge Illustration

      King's among best places in the world to study politics

      King’s College London is one of the top institutions in the world for the study of politics, according to new rankings released this week.

      SPE_stock

      Outstanding contributions celebrated at annual awards

      Merriment and excitement filled the air as the School of Politics and Economics Awards ceremony and the end-of-year drinks took place.

      Awards24_000

      New head of department announced

      The new head of the Department of Political Economy has been announced.

      SPE_stock

      Study shows public does support coercive policy....as long as it is seen to be effective

      Among the biggest challenges for governments tackling the COVID-19 pandemic was ensuring public compliance for policies introduced to encourage or manage...

      Long covid

      Students quiz MPs during visit to Houses of Parliament

      Students were given the opportunity to quiz MPs during a trip to the Houses of Parliament.

      House of Commons 1920x1080

      Online menus could prompt people to make healthier choices

      Prompting people to consider their meal choices when using online and digital food menus could help consumers to make significantly healthier and more...

      Person orders food online using tablet

      Adverts on social media fail to boost voter registration among under-represented groups

      Social media advertisement is not an effective method of encouraging under-represented groups to register to vote, a new study has found.

      vote-1804596_1920

      Praise for teaching and support in NSS survey

      The National Student Survey (NSS) results for 2023 have been published and the School of Politics and Economics scored strongly for the quality of teaching...

      SPENewsStock

      New school strategy unveiled at launch event

      A vision for how the School of Politics and Economics can build on its strengths and develop in the future was set out at the launch of the school’s new...

      StrategyLaunch002

      Events

      08JunBLM demonstrations took place across the UK in 2020. Picture: HUMPHREY MULEBA/UNSPLASH

      King’s Great Debates: What’s next for #BlackLivesMatter?

      The King's Great Debates series looks at what's next for the BLM movement

      Please note: this event has passed.

      18MarDo we need a whole new political economy?

      The climate emergency: Do we need a whole new political economy?

      One of the greatest threats to humanity – the climate emergency – will be in the spotlight for the first King’s Great Debate of 2021.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      11FebThe group will unpick the factors behind the 2019 general election.

      Election 2019: An Expert Guide

      What role did Brexit play in shaping the general election result and what happened in the key battleground seats?

      Please note: this event has passed.

      Features

      'Broader global perspective' needed to tackle climate emergency

      The climate emergency: Do we need a whole new political economy?

      How do we tackle the climate crisis?