Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Contact Details

Dr. Kris Dunn

Lecturer in Comparative Politics

My research aims to increase our collective understanding of 1) the origins and consequences of individuals’ political attitudes, behaviours and identities and 2) the impact various political systems (especially electoral systems) exert on the expression of individuals’ social and political preferences. 

As I am interested in universally applicable theories (ie. in theories that can explain individuals’ attitudes, behaviours and identities regardless of where those individuals happen to live), my research tends to simultaneously examine large numbers of individuals across a wide variety of countries; and as I am primarily concerned with individuals who reside in a variety of political environments, I tend to take a largely social-psychological perspective.

Before starting my position in the School of Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds, I was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Vienna and a Lecturer in Electoral Politics at the University of Exeter.  I received my PhD in Political Science from Michigan State University in 2009, specializing in Comparative Politics and Political (Democratic) Theory; I also possess an MA in Political Science, a BA in Psychology, and a BA in Criminal Justice.

Research Interests

I am interested in authoritarianism (individual-level), political ideology (individual-level), political trust, social tolerance, electoral systems, political representation, and radical right-wing parties.

Currently, I am working on research projects dealing with the social and political attitudes and political behaviour of authoritarian individuals, the impact of electoral systems on the representation of individuals, and a series of papers aiming to contribute to our understanding of why individuals hold differing views of what democracy is or is not.


For the fall semester I teach a module titled Political Psychology: On Authority and Obedience.  This module will introduce students to the scholarship that has built up around the ideas of authority and obedience; most of which stems from an initial interest in explaining how ordinary people come to commit or participate in crimes against humanity. I also teach a number of seminar classes for the United States Politics module.

In the spring semester I co-teach (with Dr. Soohyun Lee) the Comparative Politics module for first year students.  This module introduces students to the wide variety of methods and topics that exist in the political science subfield of comparative politics.

While at Michigan State University, I taught modules in American Constitutional Law, The American Judicial Process, American National Government, The Political Psychology of Authority and Obedience, and Political Socialization and Public Opinion.  While at the University of Exeter, I taught modules in Electoral Behaviour and Electoral Systems and The Political Psychology of Authority and Obedience.

PhD Supervision

I am happy to receive proposals regarding individual-level authoritarianism and individual-level political ideology.

Key Publications

Journal articles

  • Dunn K, Griffiths E, Lamb S, Shortt R, Theochari E, ‘The Human Empowerment Sequence and the Development of Libertarian Values: A Theoretical and Empirical Adjustment to the Human Empowerment Sequence’, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 48.5 (2017), 771-789
    DOI: 10.1177/0022022117699882, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/113426/

  • Dunn KP, Thornton JR, ‘Vote Intent and Beliefs about Democracy in the United States’, Party Politics 2016
    DOI: 10.1177/1354068816668677, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/103729/

  • Singh SP, Dunn K, ‘Authoritarianism, socioethnic diversity and political participation across countries’, European Journal of Political Research, 54.3 (2015), 563-581
    DOI: 10.1111/1475-6765.12096, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/86789/

  • Dunn K, ‘Voice, representation and trust in parliament’, Acta Politica, 50.2 (2015), 171-192
    DOI: 10.1057/ap.2014.15

  • Dunn K, ‘Preference for radical right-wing populist parties among exclusive-nationalists and authoritarians’, Party Politics, 21.3 (2015), 367-380
    DOI: 10.1177/1354068812472587, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/86837/

  • Dunn K, Singh SP, ‘Pluralistic conditioning: Social tolerance and effective democracy’, Democratization, 21.1 (2014), 1-28
    DOI: 10.1080/13510347.2012.697056, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/86838/

  • Dunn K, ‘Authoritarianism and intolerance under autocratic and democratic regimes’, Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 2.1 (2014), 220-241
    DOI: 10.5964/jspp.v2i1.260, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/86791/

  • Singh SP, Dunn K, ‘Veto Players, the Policymaking Environment, and the Expression of Authoritarian Attitudes. Political Studies’, Political Studies, 61.1 (2013), 119-141
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9248.2012.00959.x

  • Dunn K, ‘Voice and trust in parliamentary representation’, Electoral Studies, 31.2 (2012), 393-405
    DOI: 10.1016/j.electstud.2012.01.006

  • Dunn KP, Singh SP, ‘The surprising non-impact of radical right-wing populist party representation on public tolerance of minorities’, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 21.3 (2011), 313-331
    DOI: 10.1080/17457289.2011.588333

  • Dunn K, ‘Left-Right identification and education in Europe: A contingent relationship’, Comparative European Politics, 9.3 (2011), 292-316
    DOI: 10.1057/cep.2010.17

  • Dunn K, Singh SP, Orellana S, ‘Legislative Diversity and Social Tolerance: How Multiparty Systems Lead to Tolerant Citizens’, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties, 19.3 (2009), 283-312

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