My take on my book


In my book, I relax the assumption that politicians are perfect agents of their political party. I empirically demonstrate that ministerial appointments have real and important effects on social welfare and labour market reforms. Relaxing the party unity assumption seems inevitable at a time when political parties are experiencing major ideological transformation and intra-party conflict. At the same time, we all know that not all politicians are equally competent. Some are charismatic and policy entrepreneurs, some are primarily career driven, and others are very ideological. Yet, most political scientists have not incorporated their personal political experiences and observations into their studies. Instead, we dismiss individuals as irrelevant. My book innovates by arguing that cabinet ministers can have very important policy role as policy agenda setters. Yet, not all ministers are equally effective policy-makers. Some make a difference, while others do not. The challenge is how to identify the policy entrepreneurs from those who implement their party’s or their party leader’s agenda.

I propose a typology of ministers based on ministers’ office and policy ambitions, as well as their political skill. Loyalists are loyal to their party leader and prioritise office over policy; partisans are party heavyweights and aspiring leaders; and ideologues have fixed policy ideas and are unwilling to compromise for the perks of holding office. With the aid of a formal bargaining model, I predict that only ideologues and partisans can effectively change policy, above and beyond what their government mandates. 

Book Reviews

Little, Conor. 2019. Ideologues, Partisans, and Loyalists: Ministers and Policymaking in Parliamentary Cabinets. By Despina Alexiadou. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. 328p. $90.00 cloth. Perspectives on Politics, 17(1), 288-289. doi:10.1017/S1537592718003626


Despina Alexiadous Idealogues, Partisans, and Loyalists is a very important book, breaking ground in defining those ministerial types and opening the black box of cabinet government to explore their implications for policymaking and governance in parliamentary democracy. Professor Alexiadou is among the bellwethers for a group of young scholars that are beginning to open that box. (Professor Rob J. Franzese, University of Michigan)

Professor Alexiadous book provides a comprehensive and state-of-the-art account of how the background and preferences of policymakers affect social and labor policy. This book is the first to cleanly identify the connections between intra-party politics, inter-party politics, and social policy outcomes. It is truly a major contribution and will be much cited. (Professor Ben Ansell, Nuffield College, University of Oxford)

Buy from OUP

link to OUP

Buy from Amazon UK

link to Amazon UK


Peer Reviewed Articles

Alexiadou, Despina and Hakan Gunaydin. 2019. “Commitment or Expertise? Technocratic Appointments as political responses to economic crises.“ European Journal of Political Research, 58(3):845-865 [Replication Files]

Alexiadou, Despina and Danial Hoepfner.  2019.“Platforms, Portfolios, Policy: How Audience Costs Affect Social Welfare Policy in Multiparty Cabinets.” Political Science Research and Methods,

7(3): 393-409 [Replication Files]

Alexiadou, Despina. 2018. “Technocratic Government and Economic Policy“ in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, edit William R. Thompson. Oxford University Press, New York. DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.614 

Alexiadou, Despina. 2015. “Ideologues, Partisans and Loyalists: Cabinet Ministers and Social Welfare Reform in Parliamentary Democracies.Comparative Political Studies, 48(8):1051-1086

[Replication Files]

Alexiadou, Despina. 2013. “In Search of Successful Reform: The Politics of Opposition and Consensus in OECD Parliamentary Democracies.”West European Politics, 36 (4): 704-725

[Replication Files]

Alexiadou, Despina.  2012.  “Finding Political Capital for Monetary Tightening: Unemployment Insurance and Monetary Cycles”, European Journal of Political Research, 51(6):809-836

[Replication Files]

Book Chapters

Alexiadou, Despina. 2020. "Technocrats in Cabinets and Their Policy Effects" in The Technocratic Challenge to Democracy, edits Eri Bertsou and Daniele Caramani, Routledge, London.

links to research profiles

For my google scholar profile see here

For my University of Strathclyde profile see here